AACO’s 44th AGM working sessions were held today at the “Fairmont Bab Al Bahr” hotel in Abu Dhabi – U.A.E, under the Chairmanship of Mr. James Hogan, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways.
The issue of Aviation and the Environment and how to deal with aviation’s carbon footprint in a fair and balanced way, has been highlighted at the last two AACO AGMs as a pressing issue that is of global concern to relevant parties, and that it should be addressed globally within the framework of ICAO taking into consideration the special situation of airlines in developing countries, and earlier investments done by airlines in improving their environmental performance. At the 44th AGM, AACO members stressed the importance of adopting a set of principles when governments of the world are addressing aviation’s impact on the environment, mainly objecting to unilateral approaches that won’t solve the environmental concern, citing in particular the unilateral EU Emissions Trading Scheme, a call to respect states’ sovereignty over their airspace, and a call for the Arab Civil Aviation Commission to constitute an Arab position with regards to the extra territoriality of applying the EU ETS on non-EU airlines. AACO’s AGM agreed as well to the comprehensive Arab approach to emissions mitigation that was prepared by AACO’s Environmental Policy Group.
The full text of AACO’s 44th AGM Resolution on Aviation and the Environment is attached to this press release.
The second important topic that received the attention of AACO member airlines is the aviation relations between the EU and the Arab world. The AGM called upon the Arab Civil Aviation Commission and relevant stakeholders in the Arab League of States to launch a dialogue with the relevant European parties to realize an Arab-European aviation framework in order to reach a set of principles that guarantees a balanced relation between the two regions.
The full text of AACO’s 44th AGM Resolution on EU-Arab Relations is attached to this press release.
In difficult times like those currently faced by the aviation industry as a result of consecutive crises, natural disasters and political instability, AACO’s 44th AGM called for reviving an initiative that was launched by Arab states in 1979, that being the Tunis Convention for the reciprocal exemption of taxes for the Arab aviation stakeholders between Arab countries.
The full text of AACO’s 44th AGM resolution on the Tunis Convention is attached to this press release.
Delegates at the AGM received AACO’s Annual Report, the yearly harvest of all AACO achievements, developments, industry challenges and joint projects’ results, in addition to AACO’s Annual Arab Air Transport Statistics publication that highlights the major operational developments related to the Arab airlines, airports and partner airlines as well as a synopsis on the world air transport developments at large. It also includes some vital statistics on general economic trends with a particular emphasis on the ones which are more related to Arab Travel & Tourism sector.
AACO Secretary General, Mr. Abdul Wahab Teffaha, presented his report about the State of the Industry to the AGM during the first working session. The Secretary General’s report highlighted burdens faced by the industry in general, the changes that the Arab world and consequently the Arab air transport industry witnessed this year, the state of the Arab airlines amidst these changes and how these airlines maintained their global competitiveness, in addition to the main challenges which the Arab aviation sector will need to deal with in the foreseeable future.
AACO Secretary General’s report is attached to this press release.
Following Mr. Teffaha’s report, Mr. Omar Bin Ghaleb, Deputy Director General of the UAE GCAA, presented a keynote address about common issues between AACO and ACAC, on behalf of Mr. Mohamed El Alj, Director General of ACAC.
A keynote address by Mr. Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO of IATA was delivered as well which focuses on the global issues of the industry. This address was followed by signing a cooperation agreement on training between the two associations.
Furthermore, AACO Secretary General, Mr. Abdul Wahab Teffaha, and Sabre Airline Solutions’ CEO, Mr. Hugh Jones, signed an agreement, whereby Sabre will be providing AACO member airlines with regular management information reports highlighting the opportunities and threats.
During the second working sessions, AACO members held closed discussions whereby Mrs. Ghaida Abdullatif, Chairperson of AACO Executive Committee and CEO of Syrian Arab Airlines, presented a report about AACO’s Executive Committee work in supervising the overall work of AACO. Aviation and the Environment, EU-Arab Relations, and the Tunis Convention were at the forefront of these discussions which resulted in adopting the attached three resolutions, referred to above. AACO AGM as well set the dates for AACO’s 45th AGM to be held on 5 – 6 November 2012 in Algeria, and decided that the 46th AGM will be held in Doha-Qatar.
The third working session gathered distinguished panelists who shared their views about “Europe and the Arab World: Competition within Cooperation”. The Joint Aviation Forum panel was moderated by Mr. John McCulloch, Senior Principal at Seabury with the participation of Eng. Khalid Al Molhem/Director General/ Saudi Arabian Airlines, Mr. Filip Cornelis/Head of Unit/ European Commission, Mr. Akbar Al Baker/Chief Executive Officer/ Qatar Airways, Mr. Philip Good/ Policy Advisor of DG Climate Action/ European Commission, and Mr. Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus/ Secretary General/ AEA.
At the end of the day, AACO member airlines thanked the Chairman of the AGM for his leadership of the 44th AGM and for Etihad Airways’ generous hospitality for all delegates present at the AGM.