GCAA hosts regional meeting on flight call signs confusion

ABU DHABI, 24th February, 2015 (WAM) — The UAE GCAA has hosted a three day ICAO MID Region First Call Sign Confusion Ad-hoc Working Group Meeting, to discuss issues occurring as a result of flight call signs similarity which is considered to be one of the main risks facing aviation operations in the world, which would harm the safety of civil aviation.

The meeting, which is organised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation ICAO, was attended by representatives from ICAO, IATA and EUROCONTROL, along with representatives from the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, besides a number of air traffic control managers from the region.

Commenting on the first meeting, GCAA Director-General, Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, said, “The importance of such a meeting is to deal with the main safety issues in the region with regards to call sign confusion, which is and has always been GCAA’s top priority.” He added, “Call signs similarity is one of the topics that have interested the international aviation community recently. Due to the rapid growth in aviation witnessed lately, similarity started to jeopardise aviation safety. We anticipate that the result of the meeting will be constructive methodology to limit call signs similarity risks.

Ahmed Al Jallaf, GCAA Assistant Director-General of Air Navigation Services and the head of the UAE delegation, said that the meeting on call signs similarity confusion is based on a suggestion by the GCAA to ICAO to seek solutions to the issue to protect the country and the region’s air traffic operations from such a risk.

Al Jallaf added that the UAE has presented a working paper to the meeting which included the nation’s experiences in dealing with this issue and efforts in minimising potential confusion, pointing out that the Sheikh Zayed Air Navigation Centre has invented a system parallel to the call sign system that allows the controller to change the call sign of a certain flight in case of similarity with another.

He also expressed his full confidence that the UAE and regional group efforts would encourage world aviation decision makers to deal with this uprising issue.