UAE panel to evaluate more airspace for civilian aircraft

The UAE has set up a committee to give recommendation and suggestions to expand airspace for the civilian aircraft due to increased air traffic and opening of new airport in Dubai, said a senior Dubai official.

Mohammed Lengawi, Director of Security, Accident and Investigation at the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), said the committee comprises officials from DCAA, General Civil Aviation Authority, local authorities from each emirate and the UAE Air Force.

“A committee has been established to discuss with stakeholders the procedures to cater to the expansion of civil aviation sector which is expanding dramatically,” he said, adding that the report will also recommend suggestions for ground facilities, aircraft and terminals and the airspace to make it safer.

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) Director-General and CEO Tony Tyler said last month that the airspace congestion in the GCC countries is real with the deliveries of new aircraft to regional carriers.

"Airspace congestion is a real and rising problem and it grows with each new aircraft that is delivered. Unless it is dealt with expeditiously, the efficient hub operations which are supporting the region’s success will begin to unravel," he said in a keynote address to the Global Aerospace Summit in Abu Dhabi.

Almost half (47 per cent) of the UAE flight information region (FIR) currently restricted for military use needs to be made available in periods of little or no military activity to enable civil access thus reducing delays, fuel use and congestion currently affecting civil aviation, according to the UAE’s Air Traffic Management (ATM) Strategic Plan 2012-2030.

Lengawi said the report is expected to be submitted this year because now Dubai World Central Airport has also started operations and flydubai has announced 5 new destinations in first quarter resulting in more flights and airspace congestion.

He said in any country there is airspace allocated for military aircraft and airspace for civilian aircraft. In the UAE, there is a “close coordination between military, DCAA and GCAA to release some more airspace for civil aircraft. Talks are underway, the UAE military – particularly the Air Force – are our stakeholders on the airspace.”

Lengawi said there is also a committee comprising officials from airports and the general civil aviation authorities representing the Sheikh Zayed Control Centre to recommend solutions so that there is no congestion of the airspace.

He said DCAA is concentrating on legislation and passenger facilitation to make sure that legislation within the emirate of Dubai doesn’t obstruct the passengers and there is no conflict between facilitation and security or any other procedure being adopted at the airport.

Commenting on restrictions of older aircraft to UAE airports and aerospace, he said: “I can assure that all aircraft operating to the UAE airports are meeting the standards. There is an international standard and the EU standard as well from where they (aircraft flying into UAE) cannot go below (that standard). The UAE has a contract with EU for the implementation of the safety of foreign operators. They come here frequently and audit planes randomly to ensure that they comply with international safety standards.”

[Image via Shutterstock]

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