The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced on Tuesday October 8th that United Arab Emirates is ranked first globally for air trade facilitation and tops the Middle East region for visa openness, according to WAM.
IATA's latest study on the importance of air transport to the UAE shows that ongoing prioritisation of aviation as a key strategic asset could generate an additional 620,000 jobs and an extra $80 billion in GDP for the nation's economy by 2037.
"Air transport's contribution to the UAE economy is already significant. The industry at present supports nearly 800,000 jobs and contributes $47.4 billion to the economy, accounting for 13.3% of the UAE's GDP.
“If the government continues to pursue a positive agenda for aviation, the UAE's aviation market will grow 170% by 2037, support 1.4 million jobs and contribute $128 billion in GDP to the nation's economy," according to the study.
IATA identified three areas where government action can promote aviation's growth and bring even more value to the UAE.
One recommendation is to increase airspace capacity to ease congestion and meet future demand. Airspace capacity in the region has not kept pace with the growth in demand, which is leading to significant delays.
Another recommendation is to align infrastructure investments with expected growth. Future infrastructure investments must provide enough capacity to meet market demand and ensure that airline technical and service level needs are aligned and remain affordable.
The IATA also recommends continuing to leverage new technology and process innovation to enhance efficiency and passenger experience. The UAE is a pioneer in using innovation to improve the passenger experience. Fast adoption of new technology and initiatives to integrate aviation with future modes of transportation will enhance the competitiveness of the UAE as an aviation hub.
IATA's Regional Vice President for the Middle East Muhammad Ali Albakri said, "Over the past 25 years, the UAE has experienced an economic transformation. Aviation has been at the heart of this evolution. Few states have a better understanding of the economic benefits that aviation's connectivity provides than the UAE.”
Chief Commercial Officer of Etihad Aviation Group Robin Kamark said, "As the national airline of the UAE, Etihad Airways is evolving and continuously looking for ways to provide our guests with more choice and a superior travel experience. We achieve this by having a robust innovation agenda that challenges the industry status quo and leverages opportunities that come from new and improved technologies.
"We are proud of the significant role we play in continuing the evolution of the Middle East region as a tourism and travel hub, as well as our contribution to the UAE's vision to become a leader in the global aerospace industry."