Dubai, UAE, March 11, 2015:The Future of Borders International Conference got underway in Dubai with His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, formally opening the two-day knowledge-sharing platform being attended by about 500 delegates.
In attendance were His Exellency Eng. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy and Chairman of the General Civil Aviation Authority, (GCAA),Angela Gittens, Director General of Airports Council International (ACI), His Excellency Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General, GDRFA-Dubai, Major General Obaid Muhair bin Suroor, Deputy Director General of GDRFA-Dubai and Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, among other dignitaries.
Organized by GDRFA-Dubai at the Ritz Carlton, DIFC, the conference has a stellar line-up of 24 speakers from 12 countries, including representatives of ACI, IATA, Frontex and immigration authorities of the US, UK, Netherlands, Australia and Hong Kong. H.H. Sheikh Ahmed said: “Border control agencies need to be well-prepared to deal with the emerging challenges as the number of passengers travelling across the international borders is set to rise exponentially in the coming years. Borders are strategic partners for airports. They should prepare themselves for more important and challenging role in the future. The Conference presents an excellent opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities arising in near future.”
Eng. Sultan Al Mansoori, in his address, talked about the efforts of the UAE towards emerging as the world’s first-choice global travel hub and further development of the aviation industry and initiatives to ensure seamless travel facilitation through its air, sea and land routes.
He referred to the rapid strides the aviation industry has made in the UAE over the years due to the visionary policies of the government and ceaseless commitment of the stakeholders to turn the vision into reality.
Major General Mohammed Al Marri said the conference will provide momentum to cooperation and collaboration among all the stakeholders to implement the expansion plans smoothly in line with the changing times and help UAE become the world’s most-sought after travel hub.
The conference, he said, was aimed at coming up with the best formula to achieve a balance between the need to strengthen the security in the face of growing threats and risks and accelerate travel facilitation while maintaining high quality services provided to travellers.
Titled the Future and Vision of Government, the inaugural session was addressed by Angela Gittens, Director General of ACI, Micheal Herrero, Gulf Area Manager at International Air Transport Association (IATA), Thani Alzaffin, Director General and Board Member, emaratech and Hendrick Weijermans, Head of External Relations at FRONTEX, with Leila Hareb, Assistant Director General of Strategy and InternationalAffairs at General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) as the moderator.
In her presentation, Gittens highlighted the growth of the airports industry across the world and the future growth trends and challenges. She has a word of praise for the UAE government for pursuing visionary policies that are contributing to the continued growth of the aviation industry.
ACI has joined forces with IATA on a project -Smart Security - to work with governments to define the future of security screening and drive the needed change. “The objective is to improve the journey from curb to boarding, where passengers proceed through security checkpoints with minimal inconvenience, where security resources are allocated based on risk and where airport facilities can be optimized, she remarked,” she said.
Micheal Herrero, Gulf Area Manager at IATA, in his presentation, saidthe number of air passenger globally will increase to 7.3 billion in 2034 from 3.3 billion last year. This projected growth will put enormous pressure on the aviation industry as more people will travel by air and cross international borders.He said technological advancement has been impacting the way people travel and their expectations.
He said the Middle East airlines have one of the lowest breakeven load factors - 58.6 per cent. Passenger capacity is expected to expand by 15.6 per cent this year, up from 11.4 per cent in 2014. Airlines are expected to post a collective global net profit of $25 billion this year. Passenger traffic is expected to grow by 7.0 per centthis year, wellabove the 5.5 per cent growth trend of the past two decades. Leila Hareb, Assistant Director General of Strategy and International Affairs, General Civil Aviation Authoriy, said the Ministry of Interior, Dubai Customs, GDRFA-Dubai and Dubai Police were among the organizations that benefitted immensely from the Advance Passenger Information (API) project launched late last year.
GDRFA-Dubai is implementing the Advanced Passenger InformationSystem(APIS)at the Dubai International Airport this year with the First and Business class passengers of Emirates covered in the first phase followed by Economy class passengers in the second. GDRFA-Dubai will also implement the APIS for cruise tourists as the Emirate of Dubai has been recording impressive growth in cruise tourism. “The UAE has the most sophisticated API system in the world with enhanced security, monitoring, tracking and interception of transit passengers,” she said. Hendrick Weijermans, Head of External Relations, FRONTEX, European Agency for Operational Cooperation for borders in the EU, said: “All of our countries face recurring, multiple and partly different challenges in terms of border management and internal security that can only be overcome if we seek mutually trusted cooperation.”
He said there was a need for tactical passenger analysis before their arrival to the borders. Thani Alzaffin, Director General and Board Member, emaratech, said the borders were being redefineddue to the constant impact of technological advancement in the travel and border control industries.
He also announced the launch of eyen system, the latest from emaratech in the smart travel technology. The global indoor location market is expected to grow to $4.4billion by 2019, at an estimated Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 36.5 per cent between 2014 and 2019.