Thriving aviation sector to contribute 32 per cent to Dubai’s GDP by 2020


The August edition of Via Dubai, the official bi-lingual newsletter of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) has been released.

In his message, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of DCAA and Chairman of Dubai Airports, said: “Flight operations at the Dubai International Airport have been restored fully on July 21 following the completion of the runway refurbishment as scheduled. We are confident the completion of the major runway refurbishment programme in our history and full schedule operations ahead of the Eid Al Fitr holidays will bring in a significant surge in air traffic.”

As airlines used bigger aircraft where possible and load factors were higher than usual, the actual reduction in seat and passenger numbers was calculated to be less than 26 per cent.

“We are confident about the airport handling over 70 million passengers in 2014 which will bring us further closer to becoming the world’s number one airport for international passengers,” he said.

He also added that the next project that will soon become a reality is a new concourse. The Concourse D which will be connected to an existing terminal by automated train is due to open in the first quarter of next year. A trial run is planned to be conducted soon.

The fourth concourse is part of the $7.8 billion expansion programme designed to boost the airport’s capacity to over 100 million passengers annually by 2020. The development of Al Maktoum International Airport with an eventual capacity of 160 million passengers is also progressing in phases.

“We are on the mark in terms of giving a big boost to the aviation industry which we anticipate will contribute 32 per cent to Dubai’s GDP by 2020,” he remarked.

Mohammed Abdulla Ahli, Director General of DCAA, said: “In today’s competitive and performance-driven business environment in both government and private sectors, having cutting-edge technology, aggressive marketing strategies and customer services is just not enough for an organization to be successful. A good human resources management is one the most important elements in determining the success or failure of an organization.”

At DCAA, we recognize the importance of focusing on the human factor to improve the productivity and excel. We continuously work towards recruiting and retaining talented professionals and training and developing them to enhance their performance, competencies and morale. Besides, the human resources management team also contributes towards the goal of Emiratisation through attracting more and more UAE nationals to take up responsible roles in the aviation industry.

“Since the inception of the DCAA in 2007, we have focused our attention on achieving a number of important goals related to human resources, the foremost being the Emiratisation. We are keen about attracting best talent that will contribute towards an outstanding performance for not just the DCAA but the entire aviation sector,” he added.

In an exclusive interview with Via Dubai, Ahmed Hamad Al Hammadi, Head of Dangerous Goods Section at Aviation Security & Accident Investigation Department, said that the DCAA is working on linking its online approval system for Dangerous Goods transportation with the State Security Department (SSD) and Dubai Police for faster and seamless sanction of applications for transportation of explosives and radioactive materials.

“We have issued 9,764 No Objection Certificates (NOCs) for Dangerous Goods transportation by both passenger and cargo airlines in 2013, up from 8146 NOCs, while 686 approvals were given for Firearms transportation last year as against 588 in the year 2012,” he said.

In the first half of 2014, as many as 4344 and 346 NOCs were issued for the Dangerous Goods and Firearms, respectively. During the same period, about 189 applications for Dangerous Goods transportation were turned down. Last year, the department rejected 654 requests for Dangerous Goods transportation and eight for the Firearms for a variety of reasons, including non-compliance of international and local rules and regulations.

He added: “The compliance rate by the cargo industry is very high and we are working to improve this further through creating industry awareness about the latest in Dangerous Goods regulations and potential suspicious shipments.”

According to figures released by International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airline industry handles 52 million tons of cargo a day globally.

The issue of Supersonic flight, the dream of flying faster than the speed of sound, has been elaborately discussed in the “In Focus” section. The article reveals that Sonic boom, High altitude emissions and Airport noise remain the key barriers to civil supersonic flight. Boeing and Lockheed Martin have been working with NASA since 2010 on ways to muffle the sonic boom, the bane of supersonic flight. According to experts, there is a potential market for more than 600 supersonic business jets, with a price tag in the range of $180 million and $300 million, during the next 20 years.

This issue of Via Dubai reveals that the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA Dubai) is working on plans to launch the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) by the end of 2014 or early next year after final approval of the Ministry of Interior. In an interview with Manafez Dubai, Major General Obaid Muhair bin Suroor, Deputy Director General of GDRFA-Dubai, said that the new system will help airlines process their passengers’ demographic and travelling details before their arrival in the UAE.

The Middle East In Focus section reveals that the Airbus Group’s new Islamic aeroplane-leasing fund will mark the latest milestone for Shariah-compliant finance in an industry growing at the fastest pace since 2011.

Airbus and Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank will each provide 10 percent of an initial $1 billion in equity for a fund that may grow five-fold in its first two years, according to Dubai-based Quantum Investment Bank, one of the placement agents for the fund. The vehicle will buy new and used planes and lease them to carriers. Borrowers in the air-transport industry have raised almost $10 billion in Shariah-compliant debt since 2012, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Islamic finance is booming as investors looking for vehicles that adhere to the religion’s ban on interest pour in cash.

The August issue of the newsletter also includes exclusive opinion pieces by several Aviation experts. Bob Pollard, Executive Project Manager at Faithful+Gould, discusses “Innovation in airport security systems”, Eugene Hoeven, Director of ICAO Affairs, Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO), shares opinion about “A globally harmonised navigation system”, Richard Gammon, Director of Aviation and Transportation HOK, suggests to “Create the ideal guest experience”, while Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO of IATA, speaks about the “Growing role of IT in travel business.”

The Flashback section, which brings exclusive excerpts from Ghassan Amhaz’s authoritative book “From the Creek to the Skies – History and Future of Civil Aviation in Dubai,” details how the highly qualified and trained personnel deployed by the DCAA, Dubai Airports, police, customs, passport control and health authorities have served the growing number of passengers at the Dubai International Airport since its opening in September 1960.

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