Helipads on UAE skyscrapers exempted from certification

Dubai’s Burj Al Arab was the first to be approved in the country

The helipad on Dubai’s iconic Burj Al Arab was the first to be certified in the country. (Getty Images for Falcon)

The helipad on Dubai’s iconic Burj Al Arab was the first to be certified in the country. (Getty Images for Falcon)

The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has put January 2018 as the deadline for all commercial and private heliports to get certified, but helipads on hi-rise towers are being exempted, according to a senior government official.

The process of certification/standardisation for heliports commenced in 2012 with almost 90 percent to 95 percent of the heliports now certified. The helipad on Dubai’s iconic Burj Al Arab was the first to be certified in the country.

“The certification is mandatory for all heliports used for commercial and private use, but we are not talking about heliports that we see on the buildings as they are used for emergency purposes,” Ismail Mohammed Al Balooshi, assistant director general aviation safety affairs, GCAA, told Arabian Business.

“We have, however, established some guidelines for the local municipalities. We have given them a framework that includes amongst many things such as what kind of markings need to be there, removal of obstacles and the helipad not to be used as storage space as many times people tend to do that.”

A similar initiative is under way for oil rigs, Al Balooshi disclosed, without giving further details.

In February, the GCAA certified Atlantis The Palm Helipad, which Falcon Aviation Services, the operator of the sightseeing helicopter tours, claiming it to be the “busiest commercial helipad in the Middle East”.

In a report issued by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), only 114 buildings more than 200 metres were found to have helipads globally with The Nation Towers Residential Lofts in Abu Dhabi and Burj Al Arab finding place in the list of the world’s highest helipads on buildings.

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