Huge airport growth sees booming aviation industry facing environmental challenges

An impression of the Jebel Ali Airport City

THE Middle East’s growing aviation industry is facing a major environmental hurdle as massive airport development continues to spiral around the region.

Research shows that 18 per cent of fuel is wasted each year through airport infrastructure and operational inefficiencies, amounting to 120 million tonnes of carbon dioxide worldwide.
This comes at a time when the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will have the largest aviation growth in the world between 2008 and 2011, with almost 40 per cent more growth than the global average, according to recent research by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
As the region’s aviation sector continues to experience phenomenal growth, governments and airport authorities are finding that they need to create action plans to combat the potential environmental impacts of increased passenger and cargo air traffic.
Leaders in the aviation field will converge at the inaugural “Future Airports” conference at the Airport Show in Dubai, to discuss the environmental issues surrounding major airport expansion and other key topics related to future airports.
“Aviation growth brings numerous economical advantages to the region, along with goods and tourism, however, airports and aeroplanes are major contributors to carbon emissions, and it is important to start a dialogue about any environmental implications versus economical development,” says Nick Webb, director of Streamline Marketing Group, organisers of the Airport Show.
“The amount of fuel being wasted every year is startling and a major concern to both the aviation industry and its customers. There are a lot of options available to lower CO2 emissions, from reducing airplane taxiing time, to the use of alternative fuel for the ground support equipment. I think the aviation industry has the ability, desire and resources to overcome this environmental hurdle.”
The Future Airports conference will run for the first two days of the Airport Show. The conference will open with a panel discussion to present environmental options for future airports. High level representatives from the United Nations Environmental Programme and the Society of British Aerospace companies have been invited to speak.
The conference will also cover topical and pertinent issues within the aviation industry such as airspace management, security and safety as well as airport infrastructure and operations, all featuring high calibre speakers from aviation and government organisations.
“The Middle East, South Asia and Africa region is growing at an unprecedented rate, with numerous projects and expansions now valued at over $68 billion. In Dubai alone developments are worth $21 billion, including the new $10 billion Al Maktoum International Airport in Jebel Ali, which is set to be the world’s largest international airport,” Webb continued.
“This is a crucial point in the aviation industry where future designs and concepts can incorporate features to reduce the environmental impact, from noise pollution to local air quality. This is great opportunity for aviation leaders to discuss the options and solutions.”
The Airport Show will be the largest aviation trade exhibition in the world in 2008 and is well established as a major forum for the selection and pre-qualification of suppliers for regional airport development.
Now in its 8th year the Airport Show will also host three specialised conferences on Ground Handling, Aviation Security and Air Traffic Control, in addition to the Future Airports conference. The exhibition will take place from June 2 to 4, 2008 at Airport Expo Dubai and will attract the world’s leading airport and aviation contractors and suppliers, keen to capitalise on the opportunities that the growing aviation industry presents.
The Airport Show is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Dubai Airports.