Mideast Bizav Group Seeks Organized ATC in Gulf Region

 - May 19, 2011, 7:19 AM

The Gulf region is recognized as one of the key markets for private aviation, and Middle East Business Aviation Association chairman Ali Al Naqbi is determined to help shape it as a safe one. To this end he is proposing to set up an informal working group dubbed “Middle East Control,” rather like the early days of Eurocontrol when the six founding member states collaborated to achieve integrated air traffic services across Europe. With 22 jurisdictions covering the Middle East and North African (MENA) region, Al Naqbi is aware he has a lot of work ahead. “This is not necessarily a government-backed entity, rather a private grouping of small companies working together to start something that we hope eventually will be adopted across the whole MENA region,” he told AIN. The Gulf has had a rough ride recently with political instability in Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen. However, Al Naqbi said that, with the exception of Egypt, the combined markets represent less than 5 percent of the Middle East’s private aviation market. “In the long term this will be good for the industry when things settle. The situation has also had a positive effect on movements in neighboring countries,” he explained.