The forum is being hosted by the Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) and being held under the patronage of H E Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Salem al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications. More than 1,500 delegates are participating in the forum, representing over 48 countries across the world.
The event started with a welcome speech delivered by Sheikh Aimen bin Ahmed bin Sultan al Hosni, CEO, OAMC, wherein he highlighted the importance of such forums in enhancing the levels of cooperation to meet the challenges in the civil aviation sector. Hosni also noted the significant growth of passenger numbers during the current year with expectations that the total number will reach 17mn by the end of year, which is equivalent to four times the size of the sultanate’s population.
He also stressed the positive performance of the sultanate’s airports in Muscat, Salalah, Duqm and Sohar. The opening session also included a presentation by Olivier Jankovec, director general of Airports Council International (ACI) Europe.
He explained the rapid advancements that have taken place over the last few years in airport operational management and the role technology has played. He also addressed the positive outlook for the civil aviation sector as a whole. Jankovec also highlighted its role in the generation of direct and indirect jobs, in addition to its pivotal role as an infrastructure for the tourism and logistics sectors in particular.
He also pointed out passenger growth in airports in the Middle East such as Dubai, Doha and Muscat as good examples of the feasibility of investing in the infrastructure of international airports. Patti Chau, regional director of ACI, Asia-Pacific also noted the promising growth in the civil aviation sector.
She pointed out that the total number of airline passengers globally are expected to reach 15.7bn per year by 2031, while the volume of global air freight is forecast to grow to 171mn tonnes annually over the same period. A general discussion panel was also which included Hosni, Dr Sani Sener, president and CEO of TAV Airports and Badr Mohammed al Meer, COO of Hamad International Airport.
Over 50 aviation exhibitors including airlines, service providers and educational institutions are taking part in the event. This is the last ACI meeting for 2017, after five previous meetings held in five continents of the world.