MENA region can gain from aviation sector, but connectivity and operating environment a challenge, IATA says

MENA passenger demand is set to expand by 5.7 percent each year on average over the next 20 years. (Reuters)
Updated 07 October 2017
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MENA region can gain from aviation sector, but connectivity and operating environment a challenge, IATA says

DUBAI: Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries can hugely gain from the aviation industry but sectoral challenges should be addressed for the region to reap the benefits, an International Air Transport Association (IATA) official said.
“Aviation has the power to generate significant prosperity. A safe, secure, efficient and sustainable air transport industry pays huge social and economic dividends,” according to Muhammad Ali Albakri, IATA’s Regional Vice President for the Middle East & Africa.
Albakri said that while aviation currently supports 2.4 million jobs and contributes $157.2 billion (SR589.5 billion) in the region’s economic output, the “operating environment for airlines in MENA remains challenging.”
With passenger demand expected to grow 5.7 percent annually over the next 20 years, MENA region is to become a market of 380 million passengers by 2035.
As such, Albakri urged the region’s governments to address key challenges regarding aviation infrastructure, rising taxes and charges, security and regulations.
“Studies show that the average ATM delay in the Gulf is 29 minutes with the potential to double by 2025. And the diplomatic row in the GCC has further exacerbated the problem,” Albakri said. “Without an increase in the overall efficiency of the ATM systems in the region through improved airspace design, MENA’s world-class hubs will be compromised with gridlock … Regional governments cannot allow their geographical fragmentation and political complexity to get in the way of finding a long-term solution.”
Albakri also said the slew of new charges and taxes in the Middle East resulted into additional $1.6 billion costs in 2015 and 2016 that the aviation sector had to shoulder.
“Excessive taxes and charges affect the ability of aviation to meet demand and impede economic growth. Governments will earn more revenues in the long-term by promoting aviation through lower taxes … Every dollar that a passenger spends in the region creates jobs and spreads prosperity. And every dollar collected in taxes or charges is an incentive for travelers to go elsewhere. We must work together to reverse this trend,” Albakri said.
Albakri likewise highlighted the further need to keep air travel secure, considering the recent US ban on large personal electronic devises have inconvenienced passengers and airlines.
The IATA likewise urged MENA governments to adopt the group’s Smarter Regulation framework “to avoid unintended consequences when designing or implementing aviation policies.”
“Smarter Regulation is the solution to achieve positive policies that support the growth of aviation and ultimately boost social and economic development,” said Albakri.


Goldman Sachs’ second quarter profit up 44 pct; CEO Blankfein to retire

Updated 17 July 2018
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Goldman Sachs’ second quarter profit up 44 pct; CEO Blankfein to retire

  • The New York-based bank said Tuesday that earnings reached $2.35 billion in the second quarter
  • Nearly all of Goldman’s businesses saw double-digit growth in the second quarter

NEW YORK: Goldman Sachs’ profits jumped 44 percent in the second quarter compared with a year ago, driven by the investment bank’s core franchises: advising companies on mergers, acquisitions and other deals, and its trading business.
The New York-based bank said Tuesday that earnings reached $2.35 billion in the second quarter, compared with $1.63 billion a year earlier. On a per-share basis, Goldman earned $5.98 a share, compared with $3.95 a share a year earlier, beating analysts’ forecasts of $4.65 a share.
Separately, Goldman said Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein will retire as of Oct. 1, and be replaced by David Solomon, the president and chief operating officer. Blankfein has been CEO since 2006.
Nearly all of Goldman’s businesses saw double-digit growth in the second quarter. Trading was particularly strong. Goldman’s institutional client services division, which contains the firm’s trading operations, posted net revenues of $3.57 billion in the quarter, up 17 percent from a year earlier.
Goldman’s trading performance can be fickle, driven by whether the market was volatile that quarter and whether the right sort of securities saw the right sort of movement. Like its competitor Morgan Stanley, which will report results Wednesday, Goldman has been looking to diversify its businesses, moving in recent years into consumer lending and consumer banking.
Goldman’s investment banking business also had a solid quarter, posting net revenues of $2.05 billion, which is up 18 percent from a year earlier. The firm saw both higher underwriting revenue, as well as revenue for advisory services.
The firm’s return on equity ratio, a closely watched performance gauge for banks like Goldman Sachs which measures how much money the bank earned with the money investors have lent it, was 12.8 percent in the quarter. Banks like Goldman try to keep that figure above 10 percent.
Company-wide net revenues were $9.4 billion in the quarter, also beating analysts’ expectations.
Goldman shares fell 0.8 percent to $229.25 in premarket trading.