Mideast is world's largest ATC and radar systems market

DUBAI — 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, according to the head of Air Traffic Services at the Department of Civil Aviation, Government of Dubai.

By Staff Reporter

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Published: Mon 21 Aug 2006, 9:47 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 2:19 PM

Mansoor Mohammed Taher said 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 in the world 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 and it is investing in new airports to ensure it meets growth and does not create capacity limitations," explained Taher.

"This is true for Dubai where we have embarked on the huge Dubai World Central International airport at Jebel Ali, but also for other international airports in the UAE and the Middle East where investment is focused on airport automation."

Taher, who also has a key role on the Flying Committee of the Dubai Airshow, has revealed that Dubai's entire air traffic and approach radar operations will move to Dubai World Central by 2009.

"This has now been agreed and a budget for the purchase of state-of-the-art ATC and radar systems has been earmarked. At Dubai 2007 we will be looking to source the very latest technology, not just for ATC equipment and radar systems but also for general airport systems and security equipment." Taher also said Dubai is leading the way in investment in the latest air traffic services technology citing the DCA's recent $3.6 million contract placed with the UK's QinetiQ for its ground-breaking Tarsier runway debris detection radar systems. "We are the first in the Middle East, and indeed the world, to utilise this technology," said Taher. The move to Dubai World Central International, being built to reduce pressure on Dubai International airport which is currently handling a peak of 700 aircraft movements a day, is also set to increase local demand for air traffic controllers — with the allotment rising from the current 85 air traffic control officers, 35 per cent of which are UAE nationals, to 120.

"Coming with this growth and our desire to increase the number of Emirati employees in this sector, will be a rise in demand for training. We have designed an expansive training programme much of which will take place at the Emirates Training Centre in Dubai but we will be looking overseas for more advanced needs," he explained.

Taher believes air traffic service systems and equipment will be in high demand at Dubai 2007 —which is expected to be the largest yet with the show's site being redesigned for a third time to accommodate growth.

"We need to see more technology and new-comers should be keen to enter this market because there is just so much opportunity for them here," he urged.

Taher also revealed that moves are afoot to create professional association to represent the Middle East's ATC operators.

"A recommendation has gone into regional civil aviation authorities. An association of this nature will help ensure best practices and enhance communication between regional professionals," he said. Meanwhile, Taher says that the Flying Committee of Dubai 2007 — the 10th international aerospace exhibition taking place at Airport Expo Dubai in November next year — is hoping to attract international aerobatics display teams to the event, including one which has never performed in Dubai before.

"This includes one team which has not previously been seen in the region and which has already expressed interest in flying at Dubai 2007," said Taher.

"An official invitation for the team's participation has been issued and we hope to confirm this later in the year."

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