ME aviation experts came together under ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ session at ninth AAS 2022, in RAK. Adil Al Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia called upon all stakeholders for collaboration and open dialogue between governments, regulators and operators to support its recovery.
Experts highlighted the need for investment in technology to respond to changing passenger behaviour, which is shifting towards a preference for a seamless and digital experience. Discussions also centered around the importance of sustainability and the role of the industry in achieving net zero carbon emissions. In addition, they highlighted the role of tourism as a catalyst for economic development and pandemic recovery in the region thereby addressing the need to support small and medium-sized businesses moving forward.
Over 750 international and local industry experts gathered to discuss aviation and tourism issues during the two-day the ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ session under Arab Aviation Summit (AAS). The first day hosted industry workshops covering various topics related to regional and international practices across tourism, aviation, airports, and other sectors.
The second day featured the leaders speaking across panel sessions and discussed state of air transportation and tourism in the Arab world, and its effect on the global economy. Aviation and tourism leaders gathered to discuss how airlines are thriving in the ongoing pandemic. This in addition to sharing new models and success stories based on their expertise and knowledge.
Adel Al Ali, Group CEO of Air Arabia commented on the changing consumer behaviour, especially amongst the younger generation who prioritize value-added competitive pricing over luxury, and highlighted the importance of ensuring a seamless travel experience.
Raki Phillips, CEO, RAK Tourism Development Authority discussed how re-igniting the aviation sector is central to rebuilding tourism in the region and the importance of collaboration to build a stronger, sustainable and resilient tourism economy for future generations.
Kamil Al-Awadhi, Regional Vice President, Africa and Middle East, IATA said the region is resilient and nimble in its ability to adapt to quickly. “There is positive outlook for the sector this year and I hope for increase in demand in the next six months,” he added.
Samer Majali, CEO, Royal Jordanian Airlines expressed optimism following removal of entry curbs across the world and highlighted the new regional and global challenges presented by the Russia-Ukraine war.
Maen Razouqi, CEO, Kuwait Airways raised the need for collaboration through JVs and partnerships within the industry to ensure the sector is resilient and sustainable.
Mikail Hourari, President, Airbus Africa Middle East expects the ME will be one of the regions to recover strongly. He said the future of aviation lies sustainability and the industry must tackle its negative perception surrounding its impact on carbon emissions.
Atanasios Titonis, CEO of RAK International Airport said the pandemic was challenging for the aviation industry, but the sector is the best crisis manager and going forward it is well prepared for
Majid Khan, Vice President of Aviation Development, Istanbul Airport expects the sector to fully recover by the year-end and said the ME is a strong market for the airport.
Muzzammil Ahussian, Executive VP, Travel, Seera Group remains highlighted that data is positive and expects 2022 will be back to pre-pandemic levels, with Saudi Arabia as a tourist destination.
Endorsed by Arab governments and previously held in many Arab countries, the AAS 2022 was hosted in collaboration with RAK Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) and supported by global industry partners such as Airbus, CFM, Air Arabia, Alpha Aviation Academy, and others. The summit will also be hosted in Ras Al Khaimah in 2023.