Al-Baker sees need for unified air traffic control in the Gulf
January 16 2014 01:11 AM
Akbar al-Baker at the press conference yesterday.
Akbar al-Baker at the press conference yesterday.


There is a need for a unified air traffic management system to monitor and operate the very congested airspace in the Middle East region, Akbar al-Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways and member of the Steering Committee, New Doha International Airport Project, said yesterday.

He was speaking at a press conference to announce the “phased opening by mid-year 2014” of the new Hamad International Airport.

When he was asked whether the new airports opening up in the GCC region would add to the congestion of the airspace, al-Baker agreed but also said the new airports also indicated the growth of the world’s top three airlines which have their headquarters in the GCC.

“New airports will facilitate the growth of the three main airlines that are growing very rapidly in the region. Yes, it is correct that there will be congestion in the way the airspace is managed,” he said.

Al-Baker called for a unified system modelled after a European body called Eurocontrol. “There will be a time, in our opinion, jointly there will have to be a single air traffic control management system, very similar to the Eurocontrol to monitor and operate a very congested airspace,” he said.

Eurocontrol is an international organisation founded in 1960 that supports its member states to achieve safe, efficient and environmentally-friendly air traffic operations across the European region.

Together with other European Air Traffic Management players, Eurocontrol helps co-ordinate airspace design and management, building more efficient skyways over Europe. Al-Baker said yesterday that a similar system would be needed eventually in the Middle East also.

He added that this was imperative given that the airspace in the region was already “very narrow where most of the aircraft are flying from the East to the West.”





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