Shaikh Mohammad with family members and senior officials. October 5 has been designated the ‘UAE Civil Aviation Day’ by the Cabinet to promote national awareness of the UAE civil aviation sector’s achievements. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has been given “The Aviation Man of the Year” title by the Civil Aviation Sector during the UAE Civil Aviation Day.

“Awarding Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum the ‘Aviation Man of the Year’ title is an honour to the UAE Civil Aviation Day because it is a recognition of a man who spared no effort to improve the UAE civil aviation sector, in light of a wise vision that strikes a balance between holding advanced positions on the international civil aviation level and maintaining a distinguished standard of aviation quality and safety,” said Engineer Sultan Bin Said Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the General Civil Aviation Authority, in a statement from the Authority on Sunday.

October 5 has been designated the “UAE Civil Aviation Day” by the Cabinet to promote national awareness of the UAE civil aviation sector’s achievements, he said.

Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and CEO of Emirates airline and Group, said that the aviation industry in the UAE has made “qualitative leaps on all levels”.

“From this standpoint, the UAE occupies second place after the United States in terms of the number of bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding to facilitate air traffic between it and the majority of countries. The air traffic across the state’s airspace is expected to increase to 1.2 million movements by the end of 2020,” he said in the statement.

International trade

Shaikh Ahmad noted that the development of the air transport sector in the country has facilitated transportation and enhanced international trade “due to the immense potentials of this sector in terms of capacity and services provided for travellers, airlines and airfreights.”

The UAE civil aviation sector contributes up to 12 per cent in the GDP (gross domestic product). It supports sectors including tourism, trade and industry, creating around 250,000 jobs in the different sectors, according to the statement.

A number of aviation sector developmental projects are taking place in the UAE. For instance, the ongoing expansions of Abu Dhabi Airport will increase its capacity by 2017. When the Midfield terminal is completed, Abu Dhabi Airport will be able to accommodate 40 million passengers every year, as per the statement.

Recent achievements

Also, in September 2014, Dubai Airports announced a $32 billion (Dh117.69 billion) Dubai government-approved expansion of Al Maktoum International that will increase capacity to 120 million passengers a year.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Abdullah Ahli, Director General of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and CEO of the Dubai Air Navigation Services, pointed out two recent achievements: The UAE being ranked first in aviation safety and security, and Dubai International Airport ranking as the world’s largest airport in terms of the number of international passengers.

Ismail Balushi, GCAA Assistant Director General of Aviation Safety Affairs, said that the UAE has had achievements in aviation safety.

He added that the UAE has topped the list of countries in terms of applying aviation safety standards as per the International Aviation Safety Assessment programme run by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Hamad Al Muhairi, Assistant Director-General for Aviation Security, said that the GCAA developed and implemented relevant electronic services, such as a service that enables the reporting of incidents related to the security and safety of aviation as well as hazardous cargo.

The General Civil Aviation Authority also announced the organisation of the Aviation Investment Summit on November 9, in conjunction with the Dubai Air Show.