DUBAI: The UAE’s election for the fifth consecutive time to the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO, Council, represents a new qualitative achievement that reflects the country’s leading position among major players in the global aviation sector.
The UAE gained 152 out of 177 votes on October 1 to acquire a seat in the ICAO.
The UAE’s national carriers fly to 108 countries and 224 cities around the world, and the country’s civil aviation sector is supported by 8,752 pilots, 37,972 flight crew, 4,472 engineers, 352 air transporters, 49 maintenance centres, 18 specialist medical centres and 56 training and consulting centres.
The value of the UAE’s investments in the aviation sector amounted to $270 billion, while the number of international companies that operate aircraft in Emirati airports is 1,048. Last year, 883,000 flights were handled by Emirati airports, with Dubai Airport ranking sixth globally in terms of shipment, transporting 68,658,083 kilogrammes of goods.
The UAE has presented 110 working papers to the ICAO since 2007, including 35 this year, related to aviation safety, aviation accidents and the environment.
The UAE has one of the largest fleets of Boeing aircraft in the world, with 191 aircraft, and it also has 119 Airbus 380 aircraft. Its four national carriers have approximately 498 aircraft.
According to the ICAO, the UAE is ranked first globally in terms of both aviation safety and aviation security standards, as well as in terms of air transport infrastructure, according to the Global Competitiveness Report issued by the Administrative Development Institute. It also ranks first in terms of the number of air transport services agreements, with a total of 176 agreements.
The UAE is among the leading countries in terms of the number of passengers passing through national airports in 2018, accounting for 134 million passengers, with Dubai Airport ranking first globally in terms of the number of passengers in 2018, with over 89 million passengers.
Commenting on the achievements of the UAE’s civil aviation sector, Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the Board of Director of the General Civil Aviation Authority, said that the country’s civil aviation sector has achieved many successes in all areas, including infrastructure, air carriers, safety and security, smart solutions, air surveillance and shipping, which reflects the country’s leading position in the sector.
UAE’s prominent stature in civil aviation
Regarding the achievements of the UAE’s aviation sector and its recent ICAO membership, Fahad Saeed Al Raqbani, UAE Ambassador to Canada, said that they reflect the UAE’s prominent stature in civil aviation, highlighting its global leadership in this area.
As part of the UAE’s efforts to advance the aviation sector, it has prioritised the environment and climate change and played an influential role in this area. The country adopted an emission reduction plan in 2012, and in 2018, it drafted a more comprehensive plan.
The UAE was selected by the ICAO to represent the Middle East in a project to test the carbon offsetting and reduction plan of the civil aviation section before its adoption in 2018.
The UAE supported the Etihad Airways development of clean, alternative aviation fuel to reduce carbon emissions that was launched more than 10 years ago, culminated in the first commercial flight running on biofuel in January this year. It also became a member of the ICAO’s Committee on the Protection of the Environment in Civil Aviation in 2016.
The country launched the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Global Aviation Award to recognise countries, research institutions and individuals contributing to the civil aviation sector, as well as the Innovation Award in the Civil Aviation Sector, the Emirates Innovation and Experience Centre, the Excellence Drones Centre and the Etihad Airways Innovation Centre.
Future Emirati initiatives in the areas of aviation and space include launching the first Arab Emirati satellite, adopting a law regulating the space sector, and the launch of the flying taxi service.
The UAE’s civil aviation sector accomplishment key achievements in the manufacturing sector through Strata — an Al Ain-based plane parts manufacturer — with the logo, ‘Made in the UAE’. The country’s first aircraft engine factory will be inaugurated in Abu Dhabi in 2022, in cooperation with Rolls-Royce.
The UAE is supporting education and providing training in the aviation sector through the Emirates Aviation University, which is the first and largest aviation training programme of its kind. In the field of aviation and aerospace, the UAE’s civil aviation sector comprises 65 licensed security and safety training centres, five simulation training centres, and six aviation schools and academies that train pilots of fixed-wing aircraft.
The UAE will celebrate the annual Civil Aviation Day on October 5, which coincides with the anniversary of the first aircraft to land at Al Mahatta Airport in Sharjah in 1932.