Eye on the sky
Predicting the future of airspace congestion is a tough one to call. With the expansion of Dubai International and the new airport at Dubai World Central do aviation professionals need to take steps to prevent the region being strangled by overcrowded skies?
As industry critics have pointed out, new challenges such as congested airways and managing the growing number of air movements could pose a threat to large airports such as Dubai World Central's Al Maktoum International.
Like the rest of us mere mortals, aviation professionals do not have a crystal ball with which to predict the future, therefore as the cover story of Airport Middle East's September issue explains, strategic planning is vital for the new generation of international airports in the region to overcome major threats to their effectiveness.
Strategic planning sounds like an obvious approach but coupled with modern solutions it will guarantee the region as a leader of global aviation. Strong initiatives are essential and greater collaboration between the sector's authorities will avoid airport developments being scuppered by crowded runways and limited seat capacity.
And as Robert Tod explains it is not just the success of airports that is at stake, but also the success of airlines, such as Emirates, which depend heavily on the quality of air traffic management planning by airports in order to provide a smooth service.
As was recently reported, the US is no stranger to the problems posed by airspace congestion. The Air Transport Association of America recently spoke out on the need to increase capacity and reduce congestion in New York-area airspace. It urged the Department of Transportation to stop "talking ideology and experiments" and start leaving a legacy of aerospace excellence before it becomes too late.
Closer to home, the UAE and Mid-East region appear to have adopted a more textbook approach and as this accelerates development it is sure to keep up with the pace of growth, not only of air traffic, but the industry as a whole.
Sarah Cowell is the editor of Airport Middle East.
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