In line with its strategic objective to strengthen the international cooperation, UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) participated at the African Civil Aviation Commission’s (AFCAC) 23rd Plenary Meeting, held in Accra, Ghana, between 2-5 April.
HE Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director General of GCAA and Chairman of the Arab Civil Aviation Commission Council, headed the delegation accompanied by Ms. Laila Ali Hareb Al Muhairi, Executive Director- GCAA Strategy and International Affairs. Al Suwaidi stated in his opening address that “the strong relationships linking African countries with the Arab World are not recent or new – they have been tying our regions for decades since the first Arab – African summit held 36 years ago.”
The African Civil Aviation Commission Plenary is one of the most important meetings within the African region. UAE delegation took the opportunity to reaffirm the Arab States’ support to AFCAC’s nominee running for the position of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Secretary General, as well as the African list for ICAO council election. Al Suwaidi called for mutual support to the list of Arab countries running for ICAO council membership during the upcoming election which will take place in ICAO’s headquarter in Canada in October.
Cooperation between UAE and African countries has witnessed a significant progress during recent years with a large number of inaugurated air routes, increased flights to African destinations and signing of a memorandum of understanding with the African Civil Aviation Commission for training cooperation. This agreement resulted in conducting several training courses over the past three years 2010 - 2012, to train around 60 civil aviation professionals. The cooperation agreement was recently renewed for another 3 years.
“Over the last decade, the global aviation community has witnessed African civil aviation grow and mature,” said Ms. Laila Hareb Al Muhairi. “Generous investments were made in modernizing the infrastructure and expanding airports and fleets. ICAO’s latest annual report indicates that African carriers registered growth almost seven times higher than their 2011 results, at 7.4 percent compared to 1.1 percent,” she added.
ICAO’s annual report also indicated that Africa is the third fastest growing international market in 2012, mainly due to the improved performance of airlines registered in North Africa and thanks to the increased political stability in the sub-region.
In 2012 UAE has enforced the signed memorandum of understanding between the Arab Civil Aviation Commission and the African Civil Aviation Commission consisting of onsite safety and security training programs in different African states. The recent onsite training in Senegal last month was considered an enriching experience by both Senegal and UAE safety teams. GCAA also organized and hosted an internship for African women working in the African civil aviation industry where interns were introduced to the functions and roles of GCAA through working with different vital sectors for two-week period.