Sheikh Saud during his visit to the Arab Aviation Summit 2022 in Ras Al Khaimah on Tuesday. WAM
Inayat-ur-Rahman, Business Editor
The 9th edition of Arab Aviation Summit (AAS), the region’s leading aviation and tourism industry event, was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, on Tuesday at the Al Hamra International Exhibition & Conference Centre in Ras Al Khaimah.
Under the theme ‘Roadmap to recovery’, hundreds of international and local industry experts as well as media representatives gathered to discuss an array of aviation and tourism topics.
Since its inception, the Summit has proved to be an ideal platform to shed light on the status of the region’s aviation-tourism requirements and its prospects. This year’s edition aimed to create a post-pandemic roadmap to recovery. It also amplified the messaging that emanates from discussions on important topics and issues, including knowledge sharing that are vital to helping industry players unify their efforts towards uplifting the aviation and tourism sector.
Sheikh Saud being briefed during the Arab Aviation Summit in Ras Al Khaimah. WAM
Endorsed by Arab Governments, the 2022 AAS is hosted in collaboration with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) and supported by global industry partners such as Airbus, CFM, Air Arabia, Turkish Technic, Collins Aerospace, and others.
Mikail Houari, President, Airbus Africa & Middle East said: “As the recovery of the aviation sector takes hold globally, it is particularly strong in the Middle East due to their agile adaptability to the new environment and we’re proud to be partners of governments and airlines to accelerate this. The Arab Aviation Summit plays a key role in gathering key industry stakeholders and decision makers to ensure the growth ahead. We look forward to sharing insights and knowledge to help shape the sustainable future of the industry.”
AAS will also bring together tourism experts to discuss the industry’s future, along with other panel discussions that will tackle airport sustainability in addition to destinations of the future and the expectations of travelers. Since its inception, the Summit has proved to be an ideal platform to shed light on the status of the region’s aviation-tourism requirements and its prospects. This year’s edition aims to create a post-pandemic roadmap to recovery. It will also amplify the messaging that emanates from discussions on important topics and issues, including knowledge sharing that are vital to helping industry players unify their efforts towards uplifting the aviation and tourism sector.
“Tourism and the aviation industry are innately tied, with the past 24 months demonstrating that collaboration is critical to rebuild, recover and most importantly, learn from one another to become even more resilient,” commented Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority. “This week is the chance to have meaningful discussions around the topics of connectivity, sustainability and digital transformation as well as put in place tangible measures that will help shape the tourism of tomorrow. We look forward to hosting this leading aviation event and welcoming guests to Ras Al Khaimah,” he added.
Sheikh Saud inaugurates the Arab Aviation Summit in Ras Al Khaimah.
Vaayu Group RAK, announced it has signed an agreement to lease up to five Airbus A320 Passenger-to-Freighter (P2F) aircraft from ST Engineering, Singapore. Astral Aviation, one of the world’s fastest growing all-cargo airlines based in Nairobi, Kenya, will be the launch operator for the first two of the five A320P2F aircraft by sub-leasing them from Vaayu.
The first A320P2F, which is being converted by ST Engineering, is expected to be placed on lease in 2Q 2022. This will also be the world’s first A320P2F aircraft to go into operation. ST Engineering will convert and lease the remaining four freighter aircraft progressively.
Yip Hin Meng, EVP/Head of Aviation Asset Management at ST Engineering, said, “We are excited to welcome Vaayu as our first A320P2F lessee customer, and for Astral Aviation to be the first airline in the world to operate such a platform. As an aviation asset solution provider that is backed by other integrated lifecycle capabilities including freighter conversion and MRO, we are able to provide comprehensive solutions not offered by other service providers, and help operators gain a competitive edge.”
Emad Al Monayea, Chairman and President, Vaayu Group, said, “The upside of the pandemic was an increase of sales in e-commerce space. For freighters and cargo handlers worldwide, this was unexpected. We saw this coming. We simply fast-tracked the process; from conception to a reality in this A320P2F programme.”
Sanjeev Gadhia, CEO at Astral Aviation, said, “We are truly honored to be the launch operator for the A320P2F which is also the first Airbus in Astral’s fleet of 14 freighter aircraft. The Airbus range of freighter aircraft are impressive and will add immense value to Astral’s fleet and network expansion, which will result in Astral considering future freighter aircraft acquisitions of the A320, A321, A330-300 and A350.”
The eighth Arab Aviation Summit (AAS), concluded on a positive and optimistic note with industry stakeholders unanimous in their view of a faster recovery of the industry.
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