A top Dubai Civil Aviation official has said that a major new conference dedicated to Air Traffic Control (ATC) will help to put Dubai on the map as one of the most technologically advanced aviation hubs in the world.
Mohammed Ahli, Operations Director for Dubai Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), believes that Air Traffic Control Middle East, taking place for the first time in May, is a vital step towards satisfying Dubai's ambition of one day rivalling the top ATC conferences around the globe.
The conference, organised by the Streamline Marketing Group, will run alongside the annual Airport Show taking place from 28-30 May in Airport Expo Dubai. Speakers will include ATC chiefs, specialists and consultants from across Europe, India and the Middle East.
The presentation topics will range from forecasting air traffic for 2010 and beyond, new technologies available for the optimum use of airspace and future infrastructure needs for dealing with increased air traffic to preventing stress in air traffic controllers and the best ATC training systems.
"We are looking to hold a major ATC conference in Dubai on the same level as world-leading events like ATC Maastricht in the Netherlands, and Air Traffic Control Middle East is an important starting point for this," said Ahli. "Dubai is an ideal location as it is situated in the centre of Asia with easy access to the Far East and Europe.
"We look forward to welcoming the leading ATC experts from round the world to the conference in May and gaining insights into the latest technologies, techniques and procedures."
Mansoor Taher, General Manager Air Traffic Services with DCA, said keeping up to date with the most technologically advanced ATC equipment was vital for the DCA as it planned for the continued growth of Dubai International Airport.
In 2006, passenger throughput reached nearly 28.8 million, an increase of more than 16% on the previous year, while aircraft movements grew by more than 9%.
A total of 113 scheduled airlines and 25 frequent charter airlines currently operate through the airport and in 2006 it handled 237,258 flights, compared with 217,165 flights in 2005.
Once complete, the ongoing US$4.1 expansion project involving Concourse 2 and 3 and Terminal 3 will enable Dubai International Airport to handle a projected 70 million passengers.
Terminal 3 and Concourse 2 are nearing completion and will be operational by the end of 2007, while Concourse 3 is expected to be ready in 2009.
Dubai International Airport was the first in the region and one of the first in the world to install groundbreaking radar technology to detect debris on taxiways and runways, said Taher.
"We also recently upgraded our Instrument Landing System, equipment allowing pilots to land in poor visibility, with the new system enabling landings in visibility down to 50 metres."
The new US$8.2 billion Dubai World Central International Airport in Jebel Ali, set to be the largest airport in the world, would also create huge demand for the latest ATC technology, including radars, Air Traffic Management systems and Instrument Landing Systems.
DCA officials would have access to the world's top suppliers of ATC equipment at the Airport Show, which is now in its seventh year.
The exhibition attracts leading airport and aviation suppliers keen to capitalize on the recent unprecedented growth in the aviation and airport development sectors in the Middle East, Indian and African region.
The Airport Show takes place under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the DCA, Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group and Chairman of Dubai Aerospace Enterprise.
It attracts a targeted audience of regional Civil Aviation departments, government officials, consultants and contractors behind all the major aviation projects across the region.
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