Posted on November 07, 2013

The Arab Air Carriers Organization convened the Arab Aviation Summit for the Future, AACO 46th AGM, yesterday in Doha under the Chairmanship of H.E. Mr. Akbar Al Baker, AACO 46th AGM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Airways.


The AGM gathered more than 300 delegates including CEOs of AACO member airlines, AACO partner airlines and industry partners from aircraft and engine manufacturers, Global Distribution Systems (GDSs), IT providers and other specialized companies relevant to the Arab air transport industry. The AGM also welcomed the Arab Civil Aviation Commission (ACAC), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a number of regional airline associations, the European Commission, and the Federal Aviation Agency.

Arab Air Transport Statistics in 2012

Delegates received AACO’s Annual Report, which reflects the yearly harvest of AACO’s work during the past term and highlights the latest developments and challenges at industry level. The delegates also received a copy of the Arab Air Transport Statistics publication (AATS), which includes statistics of 2012 from which we extract some figures below:

  • The Arab air transport market grew by 6.9% in 2012 compared to 2011, reaching 142 million passengers.
  • Passenger numbers using Arab airports in 2012 increased by 13.4% to reach around 255 million passengers.
  • Cargo movement at Arab airports increased by 2.3% in 2012 reaching 5.8 million tons of cargo.
  • AACO members served 389 destinations in 107 countries with 3,453 average daily flights, offering 663,069 daily seats on 967 aircraft.
  • AACO members’ operating revenues increased by 15.4% in 2012 to record USD 27.4 billion for 13 member airlines.
  • Eighteen AACO members carried more than 142 million passengers in 2012 (an increase of 14.2% compared to 2011) and 4.3 million tons of cargo (an increase of 10.9% compared to 2011).


The First Working Session of AACO 46th AGM included a tribute to Mrs. Ghaida Abdullatif, former Chairperson of AACO Executive Committee, who held the position of Director General and CEO of Syrian Arab Airlines since 2008; and to Eng. Samer Majali, former CEO of Gulf Air, who was also a member of AACO Executive Committee and who greatly contributed to enhancing the joint work and support to AACO members.

AACO Secretary General Report

AACO Secretary General presented his report on the state of the industry where he highlighted the role of the Arab air transport industry and emphasized the importance of freeing market access according to the provisions and economic rules of the Damascus Convention as well allowing Arab airlines to consolidate through removal of restrictions on ownership and control. Throughout the report the Secretary General visited a number of industry issues of high importance and urgency, as follows:

  • The SG called upon Arab governments to give attention to the development of air traffic management systems in the Arab world in order to ensure sustainable growth of the sector.
  • The SG hoped that the deliberations in the European Union would lead to adhering to the historical achievement of ICAO with regards to addressing aviation’s impact on climate change.
  • The SG emphasized that ICAO is the right place to achieve harmonization in formulating global principles for passenger rights regulations.
  • The SG as well hoped that the expertise and reach of GDSs will be merged with the modern capabilities of IT in order to achieve distribution channels which provide the customer with the ability to choose a complete product rather than commoditized one.

Speech by Director General of ACAC

Mr. Mohammed El Alj, Director General of the Arab Civil Aviation Commission (ACAC), presented a keynote address about the common issues between AACO and ACAC in the fields of Aeropolitics, relations between the Arab world and the EU, air safety, environment, and air navigation issues, whereby the two organizations have cooperated throughout the years in order to achieve benefits in these areas to the Arab air transport industry.

Speech by Director General and CEO of IATA

Mr. Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO of International Air Transport Association (IATA) addressed the audience in a speech where he covered industry issues. Mr. Tyler highlighted in his speech the importance of global standards or a global approach in four areas critical to the airlines’ business: regulation, infrastructure capacity, environment, and distribution. In these key areas, global standards mean regulations that fit together to support the global system, air traffic management systems that work together for the greatest efficiency, a global approach to environmental sustainability and modernized standards for distribution that will give the customer even greater choice. At the end, Mr. Tyler stressed his key message that global standards are a strategic key asset for the airline industry that would support airlines’ global operations.

Closed Session for AACO Members - Three Strategic AGM Resolutions

The Second Working Session was dedicated to AACO members where they discussed the Executive Committee report which covered strategic issues in addition to AACO’s financial and administrative issues.

Based upon the recommendations of the Executive Committee, AACO’s AGM adopted three strategic resolutions as follows:

  1. Aviation and the Environment: AACO 46th AGM welcomed the resolution adopted by ICAO 38th Assembly on Aviation and Climate Change and called upon the European Commission to go back to the global consensus that took place during the ICAO assembly and to respect the principles contained in the resolution therein.

The AGM also directed AACO Environmental Policy Group and the Secretariat General to continue the good work done in this area in cooperation with ACAC and Arab authorities concerned as well as IATA and other stakeholders.

  1. Proliferation of Consumer Rights Regimes: AACO 46th AGM called upon governments to review the current regulations on consumer rights and work in ICAO with a view to harmonize them and remove the unnecessary and harmful burden that is being put on airlines and consumers.
  2. Air traffic management and airspace capacity in the Arab world: AACO 46th AGM called upon Arab governments to provide the same level of attention to the development of air traffic management and airspace capacity in the Arab world, and invited them to work on an urgent development plan with regards to air congestion that is starting to manifest in some parts of the Arab airspace. Furthermore, the AGM directed AACO to collaborate with ACAC, IATA, ICAO and CANSO to identify priorities and formulate implementation plans in order to develop the airspace capacity in line with the regional studies conducted by those organizations.

Panel Discussion on “The Global Outlook of Arab Airlines”

The Third Working Session, as usual, gathered all invitees of AACO AGM and witnessed the “Joint Aviation Forum”, which is a panel discussion that was moderated this year by Mr. Richard Quest, CNN Anchor and Correspondent. The panel gathered the below speakers, who discussed and expressed their views on “The Global Outlook of Arab Airlines”:

  • Mr. Henrik Hololei/ Head of Cabinet/ European Commission
  • H.E. Eng. Khalid A. Almolhem/ Director General/ Saudia
  • H.E. Mr. Akbar Al Baker/ Chief Executive Officer/ Qatar Airways
  • Mr. Tim Clark/ President/ Emirates Airline
  • Mr. Adel Ali/ Board Member & Group Chief Executive Officer/ Air Arabia

Closing of the AGM Working Sessions

As the AGM came to an end, AACO members thanked the 46th AGM Chairman, H.E. Mr. Akbar Al Baker, for chairing the 46th AGM and for the generous hospitality of Qatar Airways for all delegates of this event. Moreover, the Secretary General announced that the forthcoming AACO AGM will be held in Dubai, UAE on 18-20 November 2014.