Bahrain Hosts First Middle East Safety Summit

Regional aviation safety issues are being discussed at the first Middle East Safety Summit, being held in the Kingdom of Bahrain under the patronage of His Excellency Mr Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed

28th April 2013

Regional aviation safety issues are being discussed at the first Middle East Safety Summit, being held in the Kingdom of Bahrain under the patronage of His Excellency Mr Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, Minister of Transportation. The summit is organized by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in partnership with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and is hosted by the Ministry of Transportation’s Civil Aviation Affairs. This summit brings together industry stakeholders experts – including Air Navigation Service Providers, airport operators/regulators, and airlines – to discuss key regional safety concerns with the overall aim of improving aviation safety in the Middle East.

The three day summit, which is being held at the Intercontinental Regency Hotel from the 28 to 30th of April 2013 is being attended by 120 delegates representing the MENA region.

In his opening session speech, Mr Ahmed Al-Nemat, Acting Undersecretary of Ministry of Transportation’s Civil Aviation Affairs said “We are honored that Bahrain has been selected to host the first Middle East Safety Summit, which will become the pre-eminent aviation safety summit for the region and which will held on an annual basis. Safety is a pressing issue in the aviation industry and poses many challenges to the global community, hence it is through such forums that we can address these issues and challenges and develop strategies to increase safety and security protocols. This forum comes at an ideal time as the Civil Aviation Law has recently been approved. The new law will serve in raising the civil aviation industry’s profile and specifically addresses issues pertaining to aviation safety and security.” He also affirmed the Kingdom of Bahrain’s commitment in adopting latest international practices and standards, and adhering to the strictest regulations to ensure air safety and security. It is also worth noting that Bahrain Flight Information Region (FIR) was established almost 70 years ago and was one of the first in the Middle East with approximately 610,000 aircraft being handled per year using the latest state of the art technology and managed by highly skilled air traffic controllers.

Mr Al-Nemat ended his speech by expressing his thanks to IATA and ICAO officials and delegates for attending this important summit.

Following Mr. Al-Nemat’s opening speech, the ICAO Middle East Regional Director Mr. Mohamed R. Khonji further reiterated the importance of aviation safety saying “ The air industry plays an important role in world economic activity. Improving the safety of the global air transport system is ICAO’s guiding and most fundamental strategic objective with cooperation being the key to its success. The main outcome expected from the summit is the development of a Middle East safety strategy which will provide the framework for the development of regional, sub-regional, and national implementation plans”.

Representing IATA, the Regional Director of Safety, Operations, and Infrastructure for the Middle East and North Africa, Mr Achim Baumann concluded the opening session saying, “The Middle East Safety Summit is a fitting forum to discuss how stakeholders can work to ensure safe, secure, and sustainable operations under clearly defined rules. Safety continues to be a number one priority and it is imperative that we work towards improving safety records and sharing the tools that support addressing safety concerns”.

The summit’s agenda includes presentations and interactive panel discussions on improvements in safety in the region and the way forward with the third day dedicated for a high level meeting that will review and endorse the Safety Strategy. The summary of this Summit will be presented to the Director Generals of all Civil Aviation Affairs in the Middle East region during the DGCA-MID/2 Meeting which will be held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 20-22 May 2013.

The summit was sponsored by key industry stakeholders including ACI, Airbus, Bahrain Duty Free, Gulf Aviation Academy (GAA), Boeing, SERCO, MENA Airspace, Bahrain Airport Company (BAC), Tricom, and Gulf Air.

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