MEBAA Convention News

Iraq-Syria Overflight Restrictions Hamper Middle East Growth

 - December 8, 2014, 12:15 AM
Flight planners at Dubai-based UAS International Trip Support see current flight restrictions for military operations as only a temporary setback for business aviation.

Overflight restrictions resulting from military operations against Islamic State insurgents in Iraq and Syria has somewhat reduced Middle East business aviation flight activity, according to Dubai-based UAS International Trip Support.

“The general aviation sector in the Middle East is still very significant, but activity is not at the high rates of recent years,” UAS co-founder and executive president Mohammed Husary told AIN. “The impact of the current overflight restrictions in place in northern Iraq and Syria is affecting how the shorter-range aircraft operate and [operators] are routing their aircraft north and south of this region as they travel east and west.”

But Husary indicated this is only a temporary setback and that longer-term prospects for bizav growth in the region remain good. “We are seeing continued growth in operational activity by Europe- and Far East-based operators,” he explained. “Activity in Africa is also on the increase, which we are supporting via our regional office in Lagos, Nairobi and our African headquarters in Johannesburg. This has also been the case in America, after the opening of our Americas Headquarters in Houston. Charter business and fuel supply is increasing significantly from Middle East-based clients.”

UAS provides trip support services across every continent. “We are strategically positioned with headquarters in Houston, Johannesburg, Hong Kong and Dubai. In addition, we have several regional offices including Nigeria, Kenya and Beijing. We also have ground support in Cameroon, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ethiopia, China and India and UAS representatives within every continent to ensure that no matter where our clients fly to or from, they can expect the same high level of service,” Husary said.

He singled out several locations that were proving attractive today. “Dubai is still very popular. Many India-based operators have regular flight activity to the UAE. We also see an increase in general aviation traffic from China to the U.S. Brazil is probably one of our top-10 destinations for traffic. Mainly operators from the U.S. are flying in and out of Brazil, but we also have European and South African clients operating there.”