Atalla calls for more investment in aviation sector to boost Jordan's economy
The head of the Ayla aviation academy in Jordan, Marwan Atalla has called on investors in the Levant countries to look at the aviation sector for future wealth and national prosperity.
Speaking at the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) Forum at the Dead Sea resort, Atalla said that imvestment in the aviation sector – both private and commercial – would lead to long term benefits for Jordan and for employment of its people.
“Investing in the aviation sector is very important, especially in regard to creating jobs. Studies suggest that around a 100 people are involved in a flight starting from booking to operating planes and airports. This is what we need in the region given that the Arab Spring was caused by unemployment rather than dictatorships,” he said.
MEBAA’s founding chairman, Ali Al Naqbi, opened the one day forum which was designed to spread the word about business aviation across the region. He backed the view that the Arab Spring had opened a door of opportunity.
“The Arab Spring will have a positive impact in the longer run. In some Arab Spring countries like Tunisia, Yemen and Syria, business aviation is not allowed. Once we have achieved democracy, which will give people the freedom to register their private airplanes in their own countries, people will stop registering them abroad. This will benefit the economy regionally. Investment will be easier and companies will blossom,” he told journalists.
Jordan is said to have been the first in the region to have private aviation when Arab Wings began operations from Marka in the 1970s, and it is now a recognised hub for the industry.
Mohammad Al Quran, chief executive officer of Jordan Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission, told the conference that Jordan now has 20 business jets on its register, operated by three companies.
Al Naqbi told the forum that he sees this figure increasing. “Although business aviation has been around for some time in the region, we have a long way to go. The potential for growth is very high,” he said.
“We have 500 business aircraft registered in the region, but we expect an additional 875 aircraft in 2020 and some 765 additional aircraft by 2030. This means we should definitely consider investing in this sector.”
Business aviation across the whole MENA region will be in the headlines later in the year when MEBA – the Middle East Business Aviation show – takes place in Dubai on December 11-13.