Dubai airport not to hike service charges

DUBAI — Dubai International Airport (DIA) will not increase service charges following the restructuring of the Department of Civil Aviation and the establishment of the new Air Traffic Services unit, its chief executive officer Mohammed Ahli told Khaleej Times at the Dubai Airshow 2007, which is closing today at the Dubai Airport Expo.

By Jamila Qadir

Published: Thu 15 Nov 2007, 8:36 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 4:37 AM

Ahli said: “I can assure that there will be no extra charges for any side of air traffic services at DIA. Charges will not go up for at least the next four years. There will be no impact on the airlines because in fact we created this business unit for future.”

He said: “We have plans to take over airports in future but that will not have any impact locally.”

“The airports around the world increase their charges every four-five years but we have not increased our charges in 30 years. Only charges for (ground) handling services are being increased by 10 per cent and that too in two instalments of five per cent this year and another five per cent next year. Things are changing very fast in this world. Even if there are any changes, we will not do anything before talking to the airlines. With the establishment of the ATS unit we are separating regulators from service providers.”

Ahli, who is also the Director-General of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, said: “In future, we are planning to take over the management of airports regionally, globally and internationally. Although we are not ready to do it now, in three years’ time we will be able to do it.”

There are several airports coming to the market that need to be managed and invested in, he said.

“We will target as many airports as we can and while we will invest in some, in others we will provide the services. If the management of a particular airport is flexible enough to give us traffic rights, we will invest in it, if not we will be a service provider.”

The Middle East is now the world’s largest market for air traffic control (ATC), radar and airport security equipment and systems with demand outstripping that of Europe and Asia.

Dubai is currently leading the way in investment in the latest air traffic services. Apart from Dubai, which has embarked on the $10 billion Al Maktoum International Airport in Jebel Ali, in other international airports in the UAE and the Middle East, investment is currently focused on airport automation.

Dubai’s entire air traffic and approach radar operations are expected to move to Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central by 2009.

At Dubai Airshow 2007, the ATS unit is looking to source the very latest technology, not just for ATC equipment and radar systems but also for general airport systems and security equipment, according to a unit member. Air traffic service systems and equipment are in high demand at the show.

With Middle Eastern air traffic growth now far exceeding that of other regions and with almost every country in the area investing in new airports, the market is the most buoyant for international suppliers.

“While Europe and Asia share our common need to constantly upgrade to maintain safety levels, the Middle East is differentiated because it is not constrained by land availability. So is investing in new airports to ensure it meets growth and does not create capacity limitations,” the ATS unit member said.

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