GCAA implements new processes for grounding foreign aircraft

DUBAI: In line with its commitment to maintain an active link with local stakeholders, the U.A.E. General Civil Aviation Authority recently organised a workshop to brief various aviation related entities in the country on the legal framework and the new process of grounding and banning foreign aircraft in the U.A.E.. Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the GCAA, said, “the U.A.E. has an outstanding safety records thanks to the compliance of local stakeholders with GCAA’s regulations and the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s standards which clearly indicate that where there is an immediate safety threat or where non-compliance to standards or regulations constitutes a threat to safety, measures should be taken immediately to protect passengers and U.A.E. citizens.

Over 30 officials from local civil aviation authorities, airports and air navigation services providers attended the workshop which took place in the GCAA, Dubai.

Ismaeil Al Balooshi, Assistant Director-General of Safety Aviation Affairs Sectors, GCAA, inaugurated the workshop with an opening address highlight the main objectives of the workshop. Al Balooshi stated that the GCAA is, “firmly committed to establish an active communication channel with its stakeholders and to promote a culture of safety compliance to regulations to ensure a safer sky for U.A.E. passengers.” He added that the GCAA believes the optimal way to ensure compliance is to increase safety awareness and a provide clear and harmonised process for both the GCAA and stakeholders to ensure a smooth operation without compromising safety.

The workshop covered the reasons, process, and legal framework of grounding foreign aircraft which are non-compliant to international safety standards and U.A.E. regulations. A reference was made to the best practices internationally and to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) guidelines.

Sultan Mohamed Al Zara, Director of Foreign Operator Affairs, GCAA, elaborated thoroughly on the U.A.E.’s national obligations to oversight safety of foreign aircraft and why grounding or banning decisions are necessary to be taken. Al Zara emphasised that the purpose of such workshops was to involve the stakeholders actively in the new processes to ensure smooth implementation.

He pointed out that safety standards of foreign airlines and aircraft in the U.A.E. have been raised thanks to the cooperation of all stakeholders with the GCAA.” He added that, “The GCAA will always work together with all stakeholders and the industry for the development of new regulations and process to support the growth of foreign airlines and aircraft operations in the U.A.E. while maintaining high safety standards, and that is precisely the main aim of this workshop.” Al Zara added that the GCAA will organise similar workshops to ensure that all stakeholders and the industry are always up to date with new regulations and requirements.

The workshop session was followed by a Q&A period. Attendees expressed their appreciation to this initiative by the GCAA and the value it adds to enhancing their understanding of the U.A.E.’s obligation to the safety of foreign aircraft and how to mitigate safety threats by grounding and banning foreign airlines if necessary. Top executives from various aviation stakeholders hailed the efforts of the Foreign Operator Affairs department of the GCAA, and said that they looked forward to participating at similar future workshops.