A lack of effective coordination between the various national airspace managements across the GCC and airport administrations is causing flight delays and increases in fuel costs. Stephen Lock / The National
A lack of effective coordination between the various national airspace managements across the GCC and airport administrations is causing flight delays and increases in fuel costs. Stephen Lock / The NShow more

Crowded skies threaten Arabian Gulf airlines' growth plans

Congestion in the skies above the Arabian Gulf is now threatening the growth plans of the regions’ airlines and airport hubs, according to leading aviation industry figures speaking at the first Global Airport Leaders’ Forum in Dubai.

A lack of effective coordination between the various national airspace managements across the GCC and airport administrations is causing flight delays and increases in fuel costs, the forum, sitting as part of The Airport Show, heard.

“The waiting time for planes hovering in the air over the runway, wasting precious aviation fuel is scandalous and air-traffic centres and airports need to work harmoniously across national boundaries to resolve this pressing problem,” Paul Griffiths, the chief executive of Dubai Airports, told the forum, which closed in Dubai yesterday.

Mr Griffiths said it was essential for the Middle East to have an integrated regional airspace solution that could generate the capacity and value that was greatly needed. He said “change was possible in the region given the necessary political will and partnerships with the experts who have done it before”.

Adel Ali, the chief executive of Air Arabia, the Middle East’s largest low-cost carrier, said the biggest problem airlines in the region would face “in the decades to come” was congestion in the air, and he added that while there was enough capacity on the ground, not enough was being done to increase air-traffic management capacity.

“It seems ridiculous to imagine that the same journey, from, let’s say anywhere in the GCC to Dubai, which once would have taken 45 minutes, now takes one hour and 10 minutes, and that is with even faster airplanes – all thanks to the airspace restrictions, adding up to costs and congestions to airport operations,” he added.

Paul Reid, the managing director of the United Kingdom-based Nats, the air-traffic services and solutions company, said efficient air- traffic management (ATM) was key to airports’ ability to meet growing demand.

“ATM is an integral part of the aviation industry and it must be included in the early stages of any airport planning. It is an essential part of the jigsaw. Without effective ATM, an airport’s growth strategy and business model is at significant risk of not being realised,” he said.

Nats, which controls airspace in the UK, guiding about two million aircraft a year through some of the busiest and most complex airspace in the world, knows how important it is for ATM to be harmonised across nations, added Mr Reid.

Nats is working on ATM projects in Qatar and Kuwait, and has worked with Oman, Bahrain and at the new Al Maktoum Airport at the Dubai World Centre to support the safety, efficiency and environmental performance of the countries’ airspace.

“Our industry needs to fully exploit the capability within aircraft systems by linking the ground-based ATM systems with avionics technology within the planes, Mr Reid said. “Nats has the proven systems to help the Middle East achieve success in ATM. We have helped Gatwick to operate 55 flights an hour on a single runaway, and at Heathrow 90 movements per hour on two runways.

“Succeeding in developing ATM is achievable. It has already been done in other parts of world. Not developing ATM will have significant negative impacts on airports in the Middle East and will be a limiting factor for the industry.”

Waleed Youssef, the director for the Middle East region at Turkey’s Tav airports, said that ATM systems needed to be seamlessly integrated into an airport’s design from the planning stage onwards.

“Some European airports neglected to do so, largely concerned at costs they would entail, and they have paid the price for this omission. This is a vital link or the airport is no better than a parking lot,” he said, adding that efficiency, rather than more runways and infrastructure, was the key to making an airport function.


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside


Started: November 2017

Founders: Mounir Nakhla, Ahmed Mohsen and Mohamed Aboulnaga

Based: Cairo, Egypt

Sector: transport and logistics

Size: 150+ employees

Investment: approximately $8 million

Investors include: Singapore’s Battery Road Digital Holdings, Egypt’s Algebra Ventures, Uber co-founder and former CTO Oscar Salazar


Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder

Transmission: Constant Variable (CVT)

Power: 141bhp 

Torque: 250Nm 

Price: Dh64,500

On sale: Now


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures


Director: Lee Isaac Chung

Starring: Glenn Powell, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Anthony Ramos

Rating: 2.5/5

The biog

Name: Dhabia Khalifa AlQubaisi

Age: 23

How she spends spare time: Playing with cats at the clinic and feeding them

Inspiration: My father. He’s a hard working man who has been through a lot to provide us with everything we need

Favourite book: Attitude, emotions and the psychology of cats by Dr Nicholes Dodman

Favourit film: 101 Dalmatians - it remind me of my childhood and began my love of dogs 

Word of advice: By being patient, good things will come and by staying positive you’ll have the will to continue to love what you're doing


Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Roll of honour 2019-2020

Dubai Rugby Sevens
Winners: Dubai Hurricanes
Runners up: Bahrain

West Asia Premiership
Winners: Bahrain
Runners up: UAE Premiership

UAE Premiership
}Winners: Dubai Exiles
Runners up: Dubai Hurricanes

UAE Division One
Winners: Abu Dhabi Saracens
Runners up: Dubai Hurricanes II

UAE Division Two
Winners: Barrelhouse
Runners up: RAK Rugby

Sleep Well Beast
The National


Aston Martin Rapide AMR

Engine: 6.0-litre V12

Transmission: Touchtronic III eight-speed automatic

Power: 595bhp

Torque: 630Nm

Price: Dh999,563

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Your Guide to the Home
  • Level 1 has a valet service if you choose not to park in the basement level. This level houses all the kitchenware, including covetable brand French Bull, along with a wide array of outdoor furnishings, lamps and lighting solutions, textiles like curtains, towels, cushions and bedding, and plenty of other home accessories.
  • Level 2 features curated inspiration zones and solutions for bedrooms, living rooms and dining spaces. This is also where you’d go to customise your sofas and beds, and pick and choose from more than a dozen mattress options.
  • Level 3 features The Home’s “man cave” set-up and a display of industrial and rustic furnishings. This level also has a mother’s room, a play area for children with staff to watch over the kids, furniture for nurseries and children’s rooms, and the store’s design studio.

Cracks in the Wall

Ben White, Pluto Press 


Tottenham 1

Jan Vertonghen 13'

Norwich 1

Josip Drmic 78'

2-3 on penalties


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Biggest applause

Asked to rate Boris Johnson's leadership out of 10, Mr Sunak awarded a full 10 for delivering Brexit — remarks that earned him his biggest round of applause of the night. "My views are clear, when he was great he was great and it got to a point where we need to move forward. In delivering a solution to Brexit and winning an election that's a 10/10 - you've got to give the guy credit for that, no-one else could probably have done that."

Final round

25 under -  Antoine Rozner (FRA)

23 - Francesco Laporta (ITA), Mike Lorenzo-Vera (FRA), Andy Sullivan (ENG), Matt Wallace (ENG)

21 - Grant Forrest (SCO)

20 - Ross Fisher (ENG)

19 - Steven Brown (ENG), Joakim Lagergren (SWE), Niklas Lemke (SWE), Marc Warren (SCO), Bernd Wiesberger (AUT)


Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates