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01 March 2024

GCAA successfully completes security audit

Kevin Cahill and Aws Al Khanjari at a press conference in Abu Dhabi. (JOSEPH J CAPELLAN)

By Nissar Hoath

The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has passed a security audit programme run by the Internal Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as part of a review of facilities in the UAE.

The audit, conducted at the Abu Dhabi airport, covered eight elements, including legislation, technical facilities, quality, resolution and training. The UAE is a member of ICAO and one of 190 signatories of the Convention on International Civil Aviation – also known as the Chicago Convention – which contains protocols on safety and security.

The completion of the audit was announced at a press briefing, which was attended by officials from the GCAA, Abu Dhabi Airports Company (Adac), ICAO and Abu Dhabi Police.

"Abu Dhabi International Airport's impressive compliance with ICAO's universal security audit programme is a testimony to the professionalism of the airport management and staff and the high efficiency of the security system in place," said GCAA Director-General Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi.

"We are very pleased of the outcome of this audit as it confirms the UAE's commitment to international standards. UAE airports put high emphasis on ensuring that its airports adhere to all ICAO regulations."

Aws Al Khanjari, Director of Aviation Security and Infrastructure at GCAA, said the audit results showed that the capital's airport had achieved the highest world security standard.

"We are very pleased with the results," he added. During the auditing process we received full support from the stakeholders and the government. There will be more audits done at other airports in the country with the support of ICAO."

He declined to give details of the audit for security reasons, but said it covered training and the use of technology to safeguard the country's airports. He said checks on both passengers and luggage would be further improved at all airports.

"Body and luggage scanning systems will be fully implemented with the introduction of the most advanced scanners. Unlike some countries, full security scanning will be carried out on all passengers regardless of their nationality, religion or ethnic background. There will be no discrimination in the process."

Colonel Khamis Al Murar, Director of Airports and Ports Security at Abu Dhabi Police, said the force was also evaluating the security systems at airports with a view to developing them further and to prevent any breach. Al Murar declined to say how many security breaches had occurred at the airport but said there had been few cases but they had all been dealt with.

Kevin Cahill, ICAO Aviation Audit Team Leader, who conducted the audit, said that though he could not disclose details, the audit was successful and the results were in line with the organisation's Universal Security Audit Programme. He said the country had robust security and safety regulations.

"Our team received full support from the GCAA, Adac and Abu Dhabi Police during the process, which took nine days and concluded on Tuesday," he said.

"Our team had access to whatever documentation was required for the audit, and the support was extraordinary. The audit was carried out, not because of any threats, but as part of ICAO plan that must be implemented by all signatories."


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