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Is aviation the next big thing in GCC's FM sector?

fmME reviews the GCC’s aviation management plans, and why FM business leaders should upskill their teams in the years to come

Dubai International Airport is set for growth.
Dubai International Airport is set for growth.

The GCC’s aviation sector looks set to grow in the years to come, and this expansion could translate into a healthier contract pipeline for the region’s FM industry.

Middle East carriers posted highest growth in passenger demand this January, Arabian Business reported last month. The region’s airlines reported year-over-year demand growth of 14.4%, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.

Indeed, market conditions appear particularly favourable towards GCC aviation authorities, which are currently in the process of developing new facilities or revamping existing assets.

Dubai leads the way

There is little doubt that Dubai’s airports are among the GCC’s busiest and with the onset of technology, it is altogether likely that these facilities will soon be the region’s ‘smartest’ as well.

Key technologies deployed at the emirate’s airports include Smart Gates to facilitate automated immigration and an intelligent traffic system (ITS) for bus fleet optimisation at Dubai International Airport (DXB).

Moreover, it was announced this February that contracting firm ALEC would build a $12m (AED44m) data centre near DXB’s Terminal 2. Designed by Huawei, the data centre looks set to become the world’s first Tier 3-certified MDCC.

In November 2016, Serco Middle East announced it has been awarded a contract to provide FM services for DXB’s Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, and its cargo and ancillary buildings under a six-year deal.

Expansion plans are also in the pipeline for DXB, where an ongoing project will increase the number of Code F gates – dedicated to Airbus’s A380 aircraft – at Concourse C from three to 13, bringing the total number of A380 gates at DXB to 47 – more than any other airport in the world.

Upgrade works commenced in Q3 2016 and are expected to be completed by the end of 2018, Dubai Media Office announced in September 2016. Concourse C will also undergo interior refurbishment as part of the upgrade project.

Regional transformation

Aviation is also on a high in the UAE’s neighbouring countries. This February, it was announced that Oman’s Duqm Airport in Wusta governorate would commence operations in 2018, Dr Mohammed bin Nasser al-Za’abi, CEO of the Public Authority of Civil Aviation (PACA), told Oman News Agency.

Qatar is also devising long-term airport management strategies. In August 2016, Doha News reported Hamad International Airport has issued a $9.6 (QAR35) departure fee to “increase the airport’s capacity and invest in new infrastructure and... technology”.

Clearly, GCC airport authorities have their eye on the future, and it appears that now is the right time for FM companies to boost their aviation management skill-set.

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