Gulf 'has best safety record'


Regional carriers are working closely to ensure the safety of passengers, a major conference of GCC airline chief executives was told.

The GCC and Middle East regions have the best record in air safety and security, said Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker.

"New security equipment and procedures, the sharing of intelligence and the co-operation at the highest levels have all meant that we can continue to provide peace of mind to our passengers," said Al Baker.

He made the remarks as he opened the 26th annual GCC conference on airline security at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Doha, the Gulf Times said.

"Though the region too has its share of turbulence, the rate of incidents like hijacking has been less than one per cent," Al Baker said.

"The region's lowest crime rate is another factor which is required to be highlighted," he was quoted as saying.

The Doha conference is being hosted by Qatar Airways.

Al Baker said the airlines in the region would never compromise on the safety and security of passengers and would accord top priority to these two issues.

"The co-operation on security aspects and operations between the Gulf states have been excellent, particularly since the September 11 incidents which forced many airlines to reconsider and reinforce security arrangements," Al Baker said in the report.

Al Baker also referred to the threat of war looming large over Iraq and its direct impact on air travel everywhere.