UAE Minister of Economy opens GIAS 2020

H.E Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy and Chairman of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), on Tuesday opened the second edition of the Global Investment in Aviation Summit (GIAS 2020).

Organised by GCAA under the theme “Enabling global aviation growth through fundraising and key partnerships”, the three-day event got off to a flying start, with the largest ever gathering of aviation ministers and heads of civil aviation authorities from around the world.

The event witnessed a remarkable presence of aviation ministers and heads of civil aviation authorities from across the globe, in addition to a stellar galaxy of leading aviation companies, airlines, aircraft operators and investors, as well as a large number of visitors from more than 57 countries. 

 The GIAS 2020 aims to offer a platform for stakeholders to share insights, experiences and expertise, as well as discuss latest aviation trends, with an ultimate goal of laying out strategies and mechanisms that help channel more investment into the aviation sector and consequently boost the growth and sustainability of global economy. 


In his opening speech, H.E Al Mansouri welcomed participating guests. He said: “On behalf of the UAE Government, it is a great honour for me to welcome you at the opening of the second edition of the summit. The GIAS 2020 aims to highlight promising investment opportunities in the aviation sector, especially in light of the giant infrastructure projects being implemented in the UAE and worldwide as part of international efforts to advance the aviation industry, as a locomotive of global economy and one of its main drivers.”

H.E Al Mansouri underlined the importance of holding such global economic events that reflects our wise leadership’s forward-thinking vision for developing proactive plans necessary for shaping the future of our country in the next five decades, across all economic sectors, notably the aviation industry, which is a main driver of economic development in the UAE. 

The minister noted that this forward-looking vision is clearly exemplified in the implementation of many giant development projects and airport expansion plans, most noteworthy the new Abu Dhabi Airport and the expansion of the Dubai International Airport and the establishment of Dubai World Central (Al Maktoum International Airport), among others.

“This edition of GIAS is held in 2020, the “Year of preparing for the next 50”, as announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces,” Al Mansouri said.

According to a recent report issued by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the aviation sector contributes $2.7 trillion to global GDP, and is expected to create 65.5 million new jobs globally by 2035. The report also indicates that the sector is projected to see an annual growth of 4.3% in passenger transport, and 3.9 per cent in the freight sector. 

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“Thanks to the great attention and priority given by UAE leaders to this sector and its future for the UAE economy,  the aviation sector is expected to achieve a robust growth of 170% by 2037, Al Mansouri said, referring to the promising outlook for the UAE aviation industry, according to the recent report issued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

 The report shows that ongoing concentration and prioritization of aviation as a key strategic asset could generate an additional 620,000 jobs.  The industry currently supports nearly 800,000 jobs and pumps $47.4 billion into the UAE economy, accounting for 13.3% of the UAE’s GDP. 

The minister stressed that the government would continue to pursue a positive agenda for aviation, and based on this, the UAE’s aviation market will grow by 170% by 2037, supporting 1.4 million jobs and injecting $128 billion into the national economy.

Al Mansouri highlighted the important role SMEs play in boosting the national economy, enhancing its competitiveness and promoting sustainable economic development in the country as well as across the world, where the UAE is taking lead in this regard to offer the best economic, social, environmental, and political framework to support and promote this crucial sector. 

H.E Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director General of GCAA, stressed that GIAS has become an iconic platform that connects investors, industry experts and professionals, financial institutions and suppliers to familiarize them with aviation projects, and allow them the chance to assess successful investment experiences and conclude deals that would drive aviation to grow further. 

“Through GIAS, we provide a unique platform for all stakeholders in industry to network and exchange knowledge and expertise. We also look to raise the awareness of investors and industry professionals about the importance of this sector, which has witnessed rapid growth over the last 10 years. We aimed through GIAS to showcase the promising investment opportunities aviation offers to investors,” Al Suwaidi said.  

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He added: “The UAE Aviation sector had maintained a fixed growth after the 2008 global financial crisis, and is expected to witness a high growth over the next two decades, thanks to highly sophisticated airport infrastructure.”

This is because the UAE government, from an early stage, has realised the importance of the aviation sector to the country’s economy, so it strengthened its air transport network and infrastructure and invested billions in its infrastructure, enabling its modern aviation sector to succeed in today’s competitive world, leading the UAE to be ranked among top nations in global competitiveness indicators.  

The second day of GIAS 2020 saw two ministerial sessions titled “World Leaders: Vision and Strategies for Growth, Sustainability and Better Aviation”. It also included a number of panel discussions, including “Success Factors for Airport Investments”, “Leading the Investment in Aviation: Where are the next challenges?”, and a women-only session titled “Woman Entrepreneurship in Aviation: Global Leaders and their Visions”.

The first two days saw a heavy visitor footfall and an overwhelming participation by industry giants, aircraft operators and air freight providers, as well as companies’ owners and businessmen who provide side services that meet the needs of airports, among others.