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Infrastructure development and modernisation opening doors to opportunities

posted on Dec 11, 2016

Airport Show Exclusive Interview: Daniyal Qureshi, Group Exhibition Director, Reed Exhibitions Middle East

Airport Show Exclusive Interview

The Airport Show has emerged as the top aviation event of the Middle East which has been attracting strong interest from global aviation industry players. The show has growth from strength to strength in the 16 years since it started.  The 17th edition promises to be a milestone edition for the Airport Show, says Daniyal Qureshi, Group Exhibition Director, Reed Exhibition Middle East.

In an exclusive interview with Aviation Technology, Qureshi spoke about what makes Middle East the world’s most attractive market for global aviation industry players and how the Airport Show 2017 will cater to the rapidly changing aviation environment.  

Airport Show enters its 17th edition next year. Can you share with us the highlights?

Daniyal Qureshi - Airport Show has become the largest and the most sought after event for the aviation industry and an ideal B2B platform for companies to showcase aviation related products and services.

There is a strong interest in this region from the global aviation industry, which has led to an almost 20 per cent increase in year-on-year space bookings for the 2017 edition,  taking place from May 15-17, 2017, at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Dubai.

Last year’s edition was the most successful so far and we expect 2017 to be even better. In 2016, the show had a participation of over 300 exhibitors from 55 countries in a gross space of approximately 15,000 square metres.

In 2017, Airport Show will be bigger and the 2017 edition will be a milestone for Airport Show, especially as we bring the world’s latest and leading technologies to cater to the requirements of smart airports. 

We are expecting more than 300 leading companies from around the world to participate in the 2017 event, introducing their latest product and service offerings to an estimated over 7,500 attendees. It will cover seven sectors: Airport Build and Installations, Airfield Construction and Installations, Airport Operations, Airport Security, Airport Technology and IT, Ground Support Equipment and Services, and Air Traffic Management. Due to popular demand, Airport Security and Air Traffic Management will have its own dedicated zones. 

The Show will continue to serve as the best platform for companies to showcase their airport and aviation-related products and services. It is the world’s leading B2B event for airport procurement, supplies, solutions, and technology and enjoys a solid support from both the government and private sectors making an industry favourite.

Over the years, Airport Show has expanded and caters to the requirements of diverse segments within the industry. Business Connect, launched in 2016 will be back again offering visitors the chance to arrange pre-scheduled meetings with key industry leaders from regional airport authorities and contractors of mega airports projects, And now we have Airport Business Connect, Africa Business Connect and Air Traffic Control Business Connect to cater to the growing requirements of these segments. Similarly, ‘Women in Aviation Middle East’ is a platform which supports and enable women to adopt aviation as a career and attracts participation from women from the UAE, Qatar, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Romania and other countries. The Show will also feature World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Middle East (WTCEME), which has become one of the world’s most sought after dedicated events for the travel catering industry; and Global Airport Leaders Forum (GALF), as co-located events.

With the number of air passengers witnessing a massive growth worldwide, what are the key areas that airports are focusing on?

Daniyal Qureshi - Demand for air travel is estimated to double over the next two decades. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects 7.2 billion passengers to travel in 2035, compared to 3.8 billion in 2016.

The key challenge with the rising numbers is to not only to handle this growth, but handle it efficiently. This involves infrastructure, to ensure that procedures are faster, easier and the journey is comfortable. Security, at the same time, is the topmost priority.

Airports worldwide are seeking ways to efficiently deal with all these aspects. At the same time, resources are a crucial factor, driving the need for more innovative solutions. 

Airport Security is a sensitive and hugely relevant topic in recent times. What does Airport Show have to offer in this area?

Daniyal Qureshi - This year, the show, in addition to ‘Women in Aviation’ and the Business Connect Program, we will have 2 new dedicated zones, for Air Traffic and Airport Security.

Airport Security will take centre stage at the Airport Show 2017 and feature a host of exclusive benefits for global airport security vendors. The region’s top aviation security officials will attend it.

Our goal is to provide maximum opportunities and best solutions that fit the requirements of the sector. Before selecting exhibitors, we hold a series of meetings with security authorities in Dubai including Dubai Airport Police, Dubai Policeand Customs. We get their feedback on their requirements and source these technologies at the leading security events we attend worldwide. The feedback has predominantly centred around updated technologies and efficiency and we are bringing some of the most advanced suppliers of these to our show.

Security must be paramount, but efficiency should be ensured for moving passengers quicker through immigration, baggage scanning and on to duty free, retail and ultimately the aircraft, all without compromising on security.

According to a report by Frost & Sullivan, it is estimated that the global annual spend on airport security will surge to US$12.67 billion in 2023, up from US$8.22 billion in 2014, which clearly reflects the emphasis being  made on airport security.

Airports are more active than ever in adopting new and smart technologies and they are reaping benefits in enhancing efficiencies, passenger experience as well as in reducing costs and Airport Show aims to be the best suited platform that meets these requirements.

What does GALF bring this year?

Daniyal Qureshi - This year, we have partnered with CAPA- Centre for Aviation, who will bring together airport and aviation leaders from the around the world to address strategic and geopolitical challenges and opportunities facing airport operators, regulators, and airport industry suppliers, providing a platform to engage, exchange knowledge, share best practices, forge partnerships and discuss issues of common interest.

With a strong global interest in the Middle East, GALF will touch on highly relevant issues the aviation industries currently facing, the forum will be immensely beneficial for leaders, experts and professionals. 

Why is the Middle East aviation segment evincing high interest from global players?

Daniyal Qureshi - The Middle East’s aviation sector has been recording a consistently robust growth. It is amongst the fastest growing aviation markets in the world.

The region is actively investing in infrastructure development, adopting the latest technologies for modernisation and focussing on airspace expansion, to cater to the rising number of passengers, while ensuring speed and ease in procedures as well as comfort, without compromising on security.

There are more than $100bn-worth of airport-related projects planned and underway across the MENA region as governments look to update and expand their infrastructure in order to meet their targets for developing their tourism and logistics sectors, according to the latest Middle East Aviation and Airports 2016 Report by MEED.

The UAE is among the largest markets for airport projects and according to The Centre for Aviation (CAPA), US$30 billion worth of airport investments are underway or planned in the UAE alone.

Also, carriers from the region have steadily increased their share of international traffic and the massive expansion of Gulf carriers is continuing. Going further, airlines in the region will continue to push airport expansion to accommodate their growth, creating tremendous opportunities for global suppliers in the region.

As the region focuses on economic diversification, aviation will surely grow in strategic importance and investment. It is a sector that has shown great direct and indirect benefits to local economies, and will continue to be a key pillar of the regional development story.

Massive investments and focus on modernization in every aspect of aviation will continue to evince higher interest from global players in the Middle East in years to come. 

* The Airport Show is free to attend when pre-registered online at: www.theairportshow.com

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