Dubai: The UAE has the safest aviation industry in the world after scoring the highest ever ranking issued by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The UAE scored a success rate of 98.86 per cent making it the most compliant with international safety standards and ranks ahead of South Korea (2nd) and Singapore (3rd), according to the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).
“We’ve been subjected to an audit from ICAO and based on their assessment the GCAA became number one,” said GCAA Director General Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi by phone on Wednesday.
The news was welcomed by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, in a tweet earlier in day. While a number of senior government officials and the executives of the UAE’s airlines congratulated the UAE on the ranking.
“This is another feather in the UAE’s cap. They are demonstrating a commitment to commercial aviation second to none and the results speak for themselves. Home to leading airlines and now with the highest safety rating, the UAE has become an industry leader,” said United States-based analyst Addison Schonland, founder and partner at AirInsight, said by email.
“The number of people attaching their name to this news shows the breadth and depth of the commitment to aviation by powerful people in the region,” he added.
The UAE has emerged as a major hub of aviation over the past decade and is home to the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic, Dubai International.
“This is a result of the overall transformation project we have started with the organisation almost five years ago,” Al Suwaidi said about the country’s aviation standards.
ICAO visited the UAE last November where they assessed the country’s regulator, airports and airlines.
Al Suwaidi said the number one ranking shows that the UAE has the “safest airlines, safest airports.”“
“Great product, great service is of course great from a competitive viewpoint but it has always got to be underpinned by an unrelenting and rigorous focus on safety. This is not something that can be used to commercial advantage but it is important to be able to demonstrate the pre-eminent attention that it is given,” said UK-based John Strickland, Director of JLS Consulting, said by email.
Governments of the UAE have invested billions building the country’s aviation industry. Emirates is considered the world’s largest airline by international passenger traffic and operates the largest fleet of Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger plane.
The government of Dubai has earmarked a $32 billion (Dh117.5 billion) investment to develop Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central, currently Dubai’s secondary hub, into a mega airport with an annual capacity of more than 200 million passengers.
Abu Dhabi is currently is spending Dh10.8 billion on building the Midfield Terminal Building (MTB) at Abu Dhabi International Airport. With a projected capacity of 40 million passengers a year, it will open in 2017 and be home to Etihad Airways and the airlines it holds stakes in.