The Human Side Of Aviation



The Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) proved there’s a humanitarian side to the business at Dubai Airshow, (which runs until Thursday, November 21), after signing a deal with the United Nations World Food Programme to donate US$20 with every MENA private flight.

Ali Ahmed Al Naqbi, MEBAA’s founding chairman, said: “Our new ‘Fly and Feed’ programme is a commitment from MEBAA to support this most worthy cause. The idea might have come out of this region, but it will become global, through our association with the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC).

“Many people perceive our industry as a tool for high net worth individuals. But this is not quite true. It’s a tool for productivity and profitability. Our intention is to support the WFP, a great cause. With this, we want to change the perception of business aviation,” he said.

Al Naqbi suggested the regional industry would be worth US$1billion by 2018, and have 1375 registered business aircraft by 2020, up from around 500 registered aircraft today.

The news came during a Dubai Airshow press conference from the UN World Food Programme (WFP). Dubai Airshow has been supporting the WFP since 2005. This year’s event features a dedicated humanitarian pavilion, showcasing more than 15 charitable organisations, air operators and supporters in order to encourage more key aviation players to join their efforts.

Capt. Cesar Arroyo, WFP Chief, Aviation Service said: “The aviation arm of the WFP is the first-line air transport service provider to the humanitarian community, operating in remote, challenging environments, where no safe surface transport or commercial aviation options are available.”

Last year, WFP Aviation transported more than 350,000 people and 6,000 metric tonners of light humanitarian cargo in countries including Afghanistan, Chad, the DRC, South Sudan and Mali. More than 100 aircraft are operated by registered carriers on behalf of WFP Aviation.

The WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation addressing hunger and the UN’s frontline agency in the fight against global hunger; using its food supplies to meet emergency needs and support social and economic development in the world’s most vulnerable communities. To augment this function, the agency introduced WFP Aviation - which charters aircraft from around the globe for safe and reliable transportation of food, non-food items and humanitarian personnel.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi-based ADCOM Systems has donated a US$54.5 million Unmanned Aerial Vehicle system to the United Nations Environment Organisation for humanitarian and environmental purposes.

The system, invented, designed and manufactured in the UAE, is designed as a multi-functional, remotely piloted flying platform.

Dr. Ali M. Al Dhaheri, CEO of ADCOM, said: “The civilian version of the Global UAV can carry up to 18 air-drop containers for search and rescue survival equipment. Two extra heavy load pods can carry bulky and extra heavy air-drop containers, while one cargo hold can be utilised for humanitarian and environmental missions. If the flight operation of Global UAV saves one human life, it was worth developing such a highly sophisticated and extraordinary UAV system.”

Dr Dhaheri said the UAV can travel for up to 40 hours, with an operational speed of between 200km/h to 650km/h, and a maximum altitude of 16,764 metres.

The UAV will be used for Search & Rescue and Eco-imaging missions.


Photo Caption : Ali Al Naqbi announces MEBAA’s “Fly for Food” programme.


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