Launch of bird collision avoidance system will save lives, money

Abdulmohsen Ibrahim Al-Hobayb
Updated 03 January 2018
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Launch of bird collision avoidance system will save lives, money

RIYADH: A highly innovative system that can save thousands of lives and millions of dollars in losses inflicted by collisions between aircraft and birds was launched here on Tuesday.
The Bird Collision Avoidance System (BCAS), developed by the Bulgarian company Volacom, has been recognized by the General Authority of Civil Aviation, the state-owned aviation regulatory authority.
“The BCAS provides fully automatic detection, recognition and tracking of detected objects by panoramic thermal imaging cameras, working around the clock in all weather conditions,” said Abdulmohsen Ibrahim Al-Hobayb, general manager of Saudi Information Co. (SIT), a Saudi company which has teamed up with Volacom to introduce the BCAS in the local aviation market.
Al-Hobayb added: “Our devotion to inventing and perfecting the BCAS has resulted in a unique high-tech solution to a real-life problem … we strongly believe that our efforts in Saudi Arabia with business partners SIT will bring Saudi airports’ safety to the next level.”
Nowadays, owing to the constantly increasing air traffic, collisions between birds and aircraft are among the most serious hazards that most airports around the world have to face, he said.
He pointed out that most bird strikes usually occur when an aircraft is cruising at low altitude. Therefore, the airport environment, mainly the runways, surrounding areas and ascending and descending paths, are considered the most dangerous zones for bird strikes.
“This also involves the most critical phases of a flight, namely take-off and landing,” explained Ludmil Manassiev, former director of the Airports, Aviation Security and Air Navigation Services Directorate, CAA Bulgaria.
He said that the direct costs of a bird strike could be significant, starting at $16,000 for a new engine blade and going up to $5 million for a new engine. “Including the other associated repair costs, the damage could swell up to $6 million in addition to the indirect costs owing to flight delays, out-of-service costs, passenger compensations, aircraft replacement, etc,” said Manassiev.
Among the unique features of the system, which can be tailor-made to meet the specific needs of each client, is the proprietary acoustic deterrence signal called ASR — Acoustic Startle Reflex.
Volacom together with SIT, has been carefully evaluating the specific needs of Saudi airports to design the most appropriate solutions. “This is a good example of how collaboration between different stakeholders can bring about a safer environment for all of us,” Manassiev said.


Recent appointments in Egypt show rise of women to high political office in Mideast

The appointment of the women ministers may help to assuage disappointment about the make-up of the rest of the — all male — Cabinet.
Updated 21 June 2018
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Recent appointments in Egypt show rise of women to high political office in Mideast

  • Recent appointments in Egypt are the latest example of the rise of women to high political office in the region
  • “The men’s monopoly has been broken,” the Jordanian National Commission for Women declared in a celebratory statement which also praised the prime minister’s “clear position”

CAIRO, LONDON: The appointment of two more female ministers this month to the new Egyptian Cabinet means women now fill eight out of 34 positions, the highest number in the modern history of Egypt.

Hala Zayed is the new health minister while Yasmine Fouad takes over as environment minister. Both women replaced men and join culture minister Inas Abdel-Dayem, tourism minister Rania Al-Mashat, Nabila Makram (immigration minister) Ghada Wali (social solidarity minister), Hala El-Saeed (planning minister) and Sahar Nasr (minister of investment and international cooperation).
The appointments by Egypt’s new Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly have been welcomed as forward thinking by social and political commentators.
Dr. Magda Bagnied, a writer and professor of communication, told Arab News: “I believe whoever planned for those eight effective ministries was looking forward for the future of Egypt since they are all interconnected in some way, and having females leading them is a leap forward.
“A country’s rank and status is measured by the role of women. The higher the number of leadership roles for women, the further the country is considered to be on the road to development.”
Four out of 15 new deputy ministers are also women and women now hold 15 percent of the seats in Parliament.
The rise of women to high political office in the Arab world is by no means restricted to Egypt.
Jordan also has a record number of women ministers after Prime Minister-designate Omar Razzaz appointed seven women to the 29-member Cabinet sworn in last week.
“The men’s monopoly has been broken,” the Jordanian National Commission for Women declared in a celebratory statement which also praised the prime minister’s “clear position.”
The appointment of the women ministers may help to assuage disappointment about the make-up of the rest of the — all male — Cabinet.
Twenty-three members of the new Jordanian Cabinet have been ministers before and 13 were members of the outgoing government that was brought down by popular protest.
Rawan Joyoussi, whose posters became one of the defining images of the protests, said: “I was hoping that women would be empowered and I am happy with that. But as far as the composition of the rest of the government is concerned, I think we have to play our part to create the mechanisms that will hold the government accountable.”
In the UAE, women hold nine out of 31 ministerial positions, and one of them, Minister for Youth Shamma Al-Mazrui, is also the world’s youngest minister, appointed in 2016 when she was only 22.
This makes the UAE Cabinet nearly 30 percent female, which is higher than India, almost equal to the UK and far ahead of the US, where Donald Trump has just four women in his Cabinet.
The general election in Morocco in October 2016 produced 81 women members of Parliament, accounting for 21 percent of the total 395 seats. The Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD), which won the most votes, also ended up with the highest number of women MPs, 18.
Though elections in Saudi Arabia were open to women only in 2015, it ranks 100th out of 193rd in the world league table of women in national governing bodies, slightly above the US at 102nd place.
A policy briefing from the Brookings Institution think-tank in Washington says that one of the best ways for a country to ease economic pressure and boost productivity is to increase female participation in the workplace and in political life.
“Introducing diversity through gender parity will benefit economic growth and can help Arab countries to generate prosperity as well as the normative and social imperative of change,” wrote analyst Bessma Momani.
Yet in some parts of the Middle East, female representation seems to be going backward.
In 2009, four of Kuwait’s 65 MPs were women. In 2012 there were three and in 2013 only one. In 2016, 15 women stood for election to the 50 open parliamentary seats (the other 15 are appointed). Only one, Safa Al-Hashem, who was already an MP, was successful.
Qatar has no women MPs or ministers at all.
Egypt’s appointment of two more women ministers does not have the appearance of tokenism. The new Health Minister, Hala Zayed, 51, has a solid background in the field as a former president of the Academy of Health Sciences, a hospital specializing in cancer treatment for children.
She was also government adviser on health, chairwoman of a committee for combating corruption at the ministry she now heads and also has a Ph.d. in project management.
Similarly, Yasmeen Fouad, 43, the new environment minister, has four years’ experience as a former assistant minister in the same department, where she was known as “the lady for difficult missions,” and liaised with the UN. She is also an assistant professor of economics and political science at Cairo University.
Egypt’s first female minister was Hikmat Abu Zaid, appointed minister of social affairs in 1962 by President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who dubbed her “the merciful heart of revolution.”
Now there are eight like her, demonstrating that in the Middle East, “girl power” is on the rise.