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Tue 25 Oct 2016 01:58 PM

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UAE begins airspace restructuring to ease airport congestion

Senior General Civil Aviation Authority official says major investment planned for Sheikh Zayed Air Navigation Centre

UAE begins airspace restructuring to ease airport congestion

The UAE will be able to manage its airspace more effectively and ease congestion at airports following the start of its airspace restructuring programme, a senior General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) official told Arabian Business.

Launched in March 2014, the airspace conceptual design work for restructuring project was undertaken in two separate phases. Currently, the integration and implementation of the phase one and two airspace concept designs for 2016 timeframe are on course, while the development of an integrated airspace master plan for all timeframes will be part of phase three.

“The restructuring of national airspace will help everyone in Dubai, Abu Dhabi Sharjah, Ajman, and Ras Al Khaimah,” Laila bin Hareb, Assistant Director General, Strategy and International Affairs, GCAA, said after announcing the GCAA Strategy Plan 2017-2021.

Small enhancements to airspace, however, are often co-ordinated through a joint committee established under the umbrella of GCAA, she said.

The UAE is planning to major investment for Sheikh Zayed Air Navigation Centre, which manages the UAE airspace, in 2017. No details on the fund allocation were given since the proposal is yet to get approval.

The GCAA is working on establishing a uniform guideline for safety performance across local air navigation service providers (ANSPs).

“Every ANSP has different targets for safety, but we are now working on uniform safety standards. All of them will have to adhere to the new guidelines. Once you enhance the [safety] targets, it will increase safety and you will have less incidents.”

The new standards will benefit ANSPs’ ability to cooperatively manage aviation growth from 2017 to 2030.

Hareb ruled out slowdown in airline traffic movement, saying: “Growth was sustainable as we have lot of airline coming in.”

She said local governments had continued to invest in their airports during the economic slowdown phase and still are investing in the sector.

“When we had the crisis, aviation grew and so you will always need to invest in aviation because is a very important economic driver. Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah, even though they don’t have an airline, are looking at diversification and growth in the aviation sector,” she added.

The International Air Transport Association, a trade association of the world’s airlines, predicts Middle East carriers to post a $1.6 billion profit while the world’s airlines will collectively report profit of $39.4 billion in 2016.

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