Dubai: The Dubai government's move to set up the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) will help bring transparency to the emirate's aviation industry, analysts say, as the restructuring will separate regulatory functions of the authority from the operation of the airport.

"This has long been expected. The Department of Civil Aviation, being the government authority, has also been the operator of the airport," Robert Ziegler, principal at A.T. Kearney (UAE) Limited, told Gulf News yesterday.

The Dubai Government yesterday restructured the civil aviation sector by establishing Dubai DCAA, replacing the Department of Civil Aviation, according to a government statement.

"His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, today issued a law to establish the DCAA, replacing the Department of Civil Aviation," the e-mailed statement issued yesterday said.

"Designed to further drive the emirate's civil aviation sector, the law follows the decree issued earlier this year by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, to restructure the Department of Civil Aviation based on international best practices."

The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority will oversee conventions and the signing of agreements on the use of Dubai's air space for commercial air transport, in addition to issuing licences to new national and foreign air travel operators of regular and charter flights.

"Operation and regulation by the same entity poses a conflict of interest. However, the new move will separate those to functions and help bring in more transparency to the industry," Ziegler said.

According to the law, the DCAA is a government entity with financial and administrative independence, responsible for policy making, air traffic, and air transport and air cargo. It will also represent Dubai in negotiations related to the authority.

The law also announced the appointment of a director-general, who will be responsible for setting, implementing and monitoring the general policies of the authority.

"The DCAA will be exempted from paying taxes to the government and will assume sole authority of all the lands and facilities that were under the purview of the Department of Civil Aviation and Dubai International Airport," the statement said.

The Department of Civil Aviation, which operated the Dubai International Airport for the last 43 years and has played a pioneering role in building up the DIA as the region's biggest aviation hub, will henceforth cease to exist.

The move comes at a time when the first of the six runways of the Jebel Ali Airport becomes operational - a facility developed to cater to 130 million passengers a year - making it the world's biggest greenfield airport development.

"It will also take over the mandate of all commitments towards the Dubai City of Aviation Establishment that has been created as an umbrella organisation for the newly created Dubai City of Aviation and its subsidiaries."

Timeline: Steady progress

  • 1960: DIA opened.
  • 1997: The Department of Civil Aviation had launched a $540 million expansion programme.
  • 2000: Opening of Shaikh Rashid Terminal.
  • 2003: Dubai Government announced the development of a new airport at a 140-square kilometre site in Jebel Ali - ten times the size of the DIA site.
  • 2006: The government announces the establishment of Dubai Aerospace Enterprises - a Dh55 billion investment vehicle.
  • 2007: First runway at the Jebel Ali Airport City gets ready.