The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) hosted the first MID Region ATM Enhancement Programme Steering (MAEP) Committee Meeting of 2015 in Dubai to discuss ways of enhancing the air traffic management efficiency in the Middle East. The meeting, which was organized by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) follows a two-day summit of Future Air Transportation Systems Summit also hosted by GCAA. The discussions come in a time when the region sees a growing need for efforts to cope with the increasing congestion of air traffic movements, which is affecting regional airspace capability.
Commenting on the meeting, H.E. Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director General of the GCAA, said: “Enhancing the aviation safety, security and efficiency in the UAE comes as the top priority for GCAA. The growing demand in air traffic operations is apparent in the whole region. It is therefore imperative to collaborate and find long-term solutions.”
Delegations representing the UAE, Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as well as representatives from regional and international aviation organizations, such as IATA, CANSO, AACO, Airbus and Boeing discussed the working papers and the progress of the Middle East ATM Enhancement Program previously recommended by the UAE.
MAEP is a regional platform that provides the basis for a collaboration approach towards planning and implementation of air navigation projects in support of the MID air navigation strategy within the time frame 2014-2028.
Mohamed Reda Khonji, ICAO Regional Director of Middle East, expressed his hope that the meeting would be fruitful by approving a number of agreements, which could ignite other steps to be activated between the participating countries in order to enhance the efficiency of air traffic management in the region. Saleem Mohammed Hassan, Chief Air Traffic Management - Ministry of Transportation in Bahrain, disclosed that one of the initiatives at the meeting focused on establishing a Project Management Office in the Middle East that would manage and supervise mutual projects between countries in the region to ensure highest level of cooperation among related parties and to follow up with the implementation.
Ahmed Al Jallaf, GCAA Assistant Director General of Air Navigation Services and the Chairman of MID Region ATM Enhancement Programme Board, said: “The UAE is distinguished with a superb aviation infrastructure, up-to-date air navigation systems, and efficient capability of handling air traffic movements. However, there are some regional challenges beyond the UAE control that hold back the desired progress. An example of such challenge is the partial or full closure of some airways in a number of countries. Therefore, we are facing an urgent need of implementing efforts to enhance collaborative activities all over the Middle East, including the UAE, in order to address these challenges”.
Al Jallaf added that the GCAA strategy is based on helping the region in developing its air traffic management to ease down congested rates, and accelerate the flights frequency, which would benefit every related part in the operation.
The UAE has submitted 2 working papers where one was focusing on the financial arrangements and mechanisms and the other working paper proposed the establishment of an urgent regional project to restructure the Middle East airspace. The UAE delegation lead the efforts to conclude the meeting with some positive conclusions and outcome including quick wins. The next steering committee and Board meeting are planned in October.