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John Swift






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Some readers of the general media coverage of this year’s Dubai Airshow will have come to the conclusion that the astonishing regional growth in aviation is slowing, if not yet coming to a hard stop.

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A few weeks ago NATS launched a new report from Oxford Economics, on the economic benefits of improvements to Middle East air traffic control. People from all over the world took part in a live debate, We received a number of questions, some of which I’ve addressed in my latest blog.

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The Middle East’s aviation industry is one of the most dynamic and exciting anywhere in the world, but challenges around airspace management remain. In order for those challenges to be solved and the region’s industry to realise its full potential, airspace – the invisible but critical infrastructure – must be considered an economic asset. It is to that end that NATS commissioned Oxford Economics to assess the benefits improvements in air traffic control can deliver for the region’s economy.

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For decades precision guidance for aircraft approaches have been largely one size fits all, with an Instrument Landing System (ILS) providing a single approach path to follow, but that seems set to change.

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Hosting major international sporting events presents both challenges and opportunities, with the invisible infrastructure above our heads playing an integral role in the planning process.

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The Middle East’s challenges with airspace congestion have been well documented, but it is time to move on and begin pursuing solutions and opportunities.

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Last week I took part in the Airport Operations Conference, which had the theme “Airports beyond 2020”, and was involved in a panel discussion focused on the airport role within an integrated seamless global network – far more interesting than its title might initially indicate.

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I don’t think that there can be any doubt that the biggest challenge affecting the aviation industry in the Middle East is congestion.

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It’s been a couple of months of positive news from the Middle East aviation industry. No-where was that more in evidence than at the 13th annual Airport Show in Dubai.

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