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Tue 28 Oct 2008 04:00 AM

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Above and beyond

The second annual Aviation Business Awards takes place in November. This month's issue covers the highlights of the event that will soon reveal the worthy winners for 2008.

The second annual Aviation Business Awards takes place in November. This month's issue covers the highlights of the event that will soon reveal the worthy winners for 2008.

Leading players from across the aviation industry will gather next month to honour those individuals and businesses that are setting an exceptional standard, and have gone above and beyond in terms of innovation and industry contribution.

On Wednesday November 19, airline executives and sector figures will learn whether they have secured plaudits at this year's second annual Aviation Business Awards, sponsored by Waha Capital.

The Middle East is a market that nobody in the aviation industry can afford to ignore. Carriers in the Middle East and North Africa will buy over 1000 new aircraft worth more than US$124 billion between now and 2023.

This market opportunity, and the competition to succeed in such a fierce sector, means the Middle East is currently producing some of the most impressive airlines on the planet, with success stories including Emirates, Etihad Airways and Air Arabia.

In addition, the region is leading the way with billion dollar investments to improve airport facilities in countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Jordan.

The gala event, organised by the region's leading trade magazine publisher ITP Business, will take place at the Le Royal Meridien, Abu Dhabi, UAE and is expected to attract more than 250 leading executives and professionals from the aviation world.

Judging by the region's activity over the past 12 months, several companies will be contesting the awards. In July, Etihad Airways, low-cost carrier FlyDubai and Qatar Airways were among just a few of the Middle Eastern airlines announcing their respective expansion plans by spending huge amounts on aircraft.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways ordered 35 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 10 Boeing 777s as part of its much-anticipated fleet expansion programme. Etihad also agreed to take options on a further 20 Airbus aircraft and purchase rights over 35 more.

Meanwhile, Qatar Airways ordered four more Airbus A321s and placed options on two more aircraft. With this latest acquisition, Qatar Airways will boost its fleet to 14 A321s, 11 A320s and two A319s by 2010.

Dubai-based start-up budget carrier, FlyDubai ordered 54 Boeing 737-800s with deliveries expected to begin in May 2009. FlyDubai will serve regional Gulf destinations from the Emirate's Al-Maktoum International Airport at Jebel Ali.

Dubai's aviation authorities continued to strengthen further as the government's finance plans boost the development of Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central and Dubai International Airport's new Terminal 3 and associated facilities open for operations on 14 October 2008. The new terminal will be able to handle 60 million passengers by 2010 and will cater exclusively to Emirate's airline.

The event's continuing success is reflected in the increased number of categories for this year. A total of 16 company representatives will secure accolades during the awards. Walid Akawi, CEO of Aviation Business publisher ITP, believes an awards ceremony is an ideal platform for recognising the industry's rapid and ongoing growth.

"This market opportunity, and the competition to succeed in such a fierce sector, means the Middle East is currently producing some of the most impressive airlines on the planet, with huge success stories including Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways," he explains.

"In addition, the region is leading the way with billion dollar investments to improve airport facilities in countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Jordan.

"The 2nd annual Aviation Business Awards Middle East 2008 are designed to recognise those industry players that stand out from this exalted crowd, and have gone above and beyond in terms of innovation and industry contribution."

The event is open to individuals, companies and organisations working in the Middle East. Nominations for the 16 award categories end October 26 2008, when a prestigious panel of experts will assess and choose a winner from five finalists for each accolade.

"It is essential to bring together a group of leading, credible figures who will be impartial," Akawi said. "The panellists will play a crucial role in the event, which celebrates excellence across the aviation industry."

Ammar Balkar, president and CEO of industry body Middle East Business Aviation Association and Niko Herrmann, partner in aviation at management consulting firm Oliver Wyman both sat on the judging panel last year and are keen to take up the role for this year's event.

They will be joined by Bob Genise, CEO of DAE Capital, Salem Rashid Al Noaimi, CEO of Waha Leasing and Dr David Van Over, associate professor and chair of the College of Graduate Studies at the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD).

During the awards, individuals and companies will be recognised for achieving excellence in several categories. There are a range of accolades which include, airline of the year; low-cost carrier of the year; airline chief executive officer of the year; airport passenger handling of the year and aviation technology provider of the year.

Awards for airport of the year; ground handling provider of the year; aviation spares, logistics provider and aircraft charter service provider of the year, will also be presented. CategoriesAirline of the Year

This accolade is awarded to the Middle East airline that has consistently delivered world-class service across the region and internationally during the past 12 months. Airlines are asked to provide evidence of exceptional performance, including examples of business innovation, in-flight services, route expansions, aircraft fleet, alliance involvement, loyalty programmes, environmental care, financial performance and future expansion and development plans.

Low Cost Carrier of the Year

As the market for budget travel in the Middle East experiences a boom, this category honours the low-cost carrier that has delivered world-class service across the region during the past 12 months. Airlines are asked to provide evidence of exceptional performance, including examples of business innovation, aircraft fleet, travel network, ticket pricing, in-flight services, loyalty programmes, marketing campaigns and future expansion plans.

Business Jet Provider of the Year

This award will be presented to the Middle Eastern company that has consistently delivered a world-class chartered service within the regional business aviation sector during the past 12 months. Companies are asked to provide evidence of exceptional performance, including examples of business innovation, aircraft fleet, interior design, range of services, financial performance, geographical coverage and future expansion plans.

MRO Company of the Year

This award recognises the company that has consistently delivered a world-class MRO (maintenance, repair operations) service to the Middle East aviation industry during the past 12 months.

The winner will have also enabled customers to deliver safe airline operations with a reliable aircraft fleet. Companies are asked to provide evidence of exceptional performance, including examples of business innovations, regional coverage, range of services and industry certification.

In-flight Services of the Year

Awarded to the Middle East airline that has consistently delivered world-class in-flight services across the region and internationally in the past 12 months. Airlines are asked to provide evidence of exceptional service, including examples of in-flight innovations, food and beverage offerings, hi-tech services, entertainment and onboard shopping facilities.

Airline CEO of the Year

Awarded to the chief executive officer of a successful Middle East airline. The executive will have made a huge difference to the company's business operations, demonstrating excellent management skills and innovative vision. The winner will have also gone beyond the call of duty to get the job done. Testimonials from parent companies and clients are welcomed.

Airport of the Year

Awarded to the Middle East airport that has consistently delivered world-class service across the region during the past 12 months. Airports are asked to provide evidence of exceptional performance, with examples of business innovation, traffic figures, excellence in service and product standards (including passenger and ground handling facilities), technology implementation, contribution to the regional aviation industry's growth and future expansion and development plans.

Duty Free of the Year

Awarded to the Middle East duty free provider that has consistently delivered world-class service across the region in the past 12 months. Operators are asked to provide evidence of exceptional performance, with examples of business innovation, range of retail outlets, profit figures, sales transactions, marketing campaigns and future growth plans.

Airport Security Provider of the Year

Awarded to the airport security provider that has consistently delivered a world-class service across the region in the past 12 months. Companies are asked to provide evidence of exceptional performance, market-leading innovation and efficient and well-communicated regulations. They must show the ability to meet international security standards and the implementation of cutting-edge technology, such as x-ray systems and baggage scanners.

Aviation Technology Provider of the Year

As the aviation industry becomes increasingly technological, this award recognises the company that has provided the best solutions, enabling airlines and airports to increase their efficiencies. Examples include e-ticketing systems, security solutions, online reservation systems, check-in technology and departure control systems.

Ground Handling Provider of the Year

Awarded to the company that has consistently delivered world-class ground handling services to airports across the Middle East during the past 12 months.

Facilities are asked to provide evidence of exceptional performance in one or more contracts, with examples of excellence in baggage loading, aircraft cleaning, ramp services, towing and repositioning. Cases that demonstrate fuelling, aircraft de-icing, load control and GSE maintenance are also ideal for this award.

Airport Passenger Handling of the Year

This accolade is awarded to the company that has consistently delivered world-class passenger handling services to airports across the Middle East during the past 12 months.

Facilities are asked to provide evidence of exceptional performance in one or more contracts, with examples of excellence in passenger checking, ticketing, lost and found, irregularity and flight delay handling (such as hotel accommodation and meal vouchers), security screening and special services, such as providing easy aircraft access for less able passengers.

AviationTraining Academyof the Year

This award recognises the region's leading training provider. The winner will have provided an impressive number of recruits to the industry, either for its own operation or other organisations. Nominations for companies providing maintenance, repair and overhaul services, pilot training, ground handling and in-flight crew training are welcome.

Businesses that offer alternative types of training can also enter. Those nominating are asked to give examples of excellent training programmes and case studies, showing how they helped train the industry's latest recruits.

Aircraft Leasing and Finance Provider of the Year

Leasing and finance is the lifeblood of most airlines operating in the Middle East. This award honours the company that has offered financial support to existing, as well as new clients during the past 12 months. It will recognise the business providing consistent backing to airlines that regularly need assistance when it comes to leasing aircraft. Testimonials from clients detailing how the nominated company helped during the past 12 months are welcome. Aviation Spares and Logistics Provider of the Year

Recognising a leading provider of spares and logistics services to the aviation industry, this award honours the company that has upheld an excellent package of integrated supply chain solutions.

The winner must be able to offer specialised aviation-parts-services where timely delivery allows customers to continue normal operations. The winning company will be the first choice for customers requiring round-the-clock transportation needs.

Aircraft Charter Service Provider of the Year

Air charter services that provide quick, easy transportation are becoming increasingly popular. This award will be given to a company which has consistently provided top quality services to its customers throughout the past 12 months. The winner will be recognised for excellent air charter services in the Middle East.

Judges

Ammar Balkar

Ammar Balkar was unveiled as president and CEO of Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) in 2007. He secured the role following an extensive career in aviation throughout the region, including managerial roles in start-up executive jet service providers.

He also worked with Royal Jordanian Airlines and gained wide-ranging experience in commercial airlines, corporate jets and helicopters. Born in Amman, Jordan, Ammar is an economics and business aviation graduate, with an MSC in information management systems.

Niko Herrmann

Niko Herrmann is partner in aviation at Oliver Wyman, a leading international management consulting firm. He has 13 years of consulting experience in the US, Europe and Middle East, focusing on air cargo.

In addition, Niko has managed numerous engagements for some of the world's leading international airlines and aerospace companies. Recently, Niko worked with Qatar Airways for 15 months, leading the carrier's cargo division as general manager cargo worldwide on an interim basis.

He holds an MSC equivalent graduate degree in aerospace engineering from the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany. After graduating, he received a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from INSEAD, the European Institute for Business Administration in Fontainebleau, France.

SalemRashid Al Noaimi

Salem Rashid Al Noaimi is CEO of Waha Leasing, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Waha Capital. Salem joined Waha Leasing (previously Oasis International Leasing) as the director of business development in 2004 and became the acting CEO in 2007.

Previously he worked in the investments department of Dubai Islamic Bank and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. Salem is a UAE national and studied a degree in Finance and International Business at the Northeastern University in Boston, USA.

Bob Genise

Bob Genise is CEO of DAE Capital, a division of Dubai Aerospace Enterprise. Bob was president and CEO of Boullioun Aviation Services for 17 years and was a founding shareholder of the business.

Bob was responsible for building Boullioun into one of the world's top leasing businesses. Prior to this he served as managing director for London-based Chemical Bank's special finance group, with responsibility for all of Chemical Bank's international aviation banking and leasing business.

Dr David Van Over

Dr David Van Over is associate professor and chair of the College of Graduate Studies at the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD). As an information technology expert, David teaches courses in IT and received a PhD in Information Systems from the University of Houston. Prior to joining UOWD, David held similar positions in American universities and was employed by both Deloitte & Touche and IBM as a business consultant.

2007 winnersDuty Free of the Year:Qatar Duty Free

In-Flight Services:Emirates

Aviation Training Academy of the Year:Emirates Aviation College Aerospace and Academic Studies

Aviation Technology Provider of the Year:SITA

Business Jet Provider of the Year:Royal Jet

Aircraft Leasing and Finance Provider of the Year:GE Commercial Aviation Services

Ground Handling Provider of the Year:Dnata Airport Operations

Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Company of the Year:JorAMCo

Airport Security of the Year:Abu Dhabi International Airport

Passenger Handling of the Year:Doha International Airport

Airport of the Year:Dubai International Airport

Airline of the Year:Emirates

CEO of the Year:Adel Ali (Air Arabia)

Low-Cost Carrier of the Year:Air Arabia

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