The UAE FIR is among the smallest and
most important blocks of airspace in the world.
This is due to the strategic location of the UAE being the link between
East and West. Inaugurated in 2009, the Sheikh Zayed Air Navigation Centre (SZC)
aims at accommodating the growth in the aviation sector. Soon after
inauguration the Sheikh Khalifa Award was awarded to the SZC for the best
technical experience category in recognition to the advanced technologies used
at the centre.
The centre represents one of the key
infrastructure projects in the UAE, being the largest, most advanced air
navigation facility in the Middle East. The main navigation building comprises
a 600 sqm air traffic control operations room in addition to other well equipped
locations to cover the increase in aviation traffic within the next 20 years,
which is expected to reach 2 million movements annually.
The centre today handles more than 2200
air traffic movements per day for the 8 international airports in the UAE as
well as the over flying movements. The centre hosts 9 air traffic sectors as
well as the Approach air traffic services to Al Ain International airport.
Since its inception, the General Civil
Aviation Authority has laid special emphasis upon training and emiratisation
efforts through its departments, especially within the air traffic control
field where it has approved an ambitious air traffic controller nationalisation
program. It has also provided all necessary requirements to train highly
qualified air traffic controllers, arming the program with the best technical
and human capabilities such as advanced simulators and professional trainers
who implement a clearly outlined program, as well as qualifying Emirati air
traffic controllers capable of dealing with ever-increasing air traffic.
The GCAA initiated in 2011 an air
traffic control promotion campaign aiming at increasing the awareness of the
UAE society towards the mission and role of air controllers and encouraging
youth nationals to join one of the most vital roles, not only in the aviation
sector but on the larger scale of specialised occupations.
The campaign mainly targets national
youth to encourage them to work in air traffic control and to get them aware of
the nationalisation program of the job. The plan spans school,
college, university visits and media activities. A team of national air
traffic controllers who have successfully completed the program was formed to
execute the promotion campaign.
The SZC has been active in updating its
Safety Management System (SMS) in accordance with regulation and has as well
managed to achieve certification of the Integrated Management System (IMS),
which consists of ISO 9001, ISO 14001 for environment and OSAS 18001 for
occupational health & safety
The Sheikh Zayed Air Navigation Centre (SZC)
The General Civil Aviation Authority
(GCAA) of the United Arab Emirates commenced ATS Operations in the Sheikh Zayed
Centre for Air Navigation Centre from the 6th of June 2009. The AED 300-million
project, was completed in early June 2009, is considered the largest and most
advanced air traffic management facility in the Middle East.
The Centre comprises two main buildings – the air traffic control centre
building (ACC) and the Emergency ACC – each of which has been designed to
satisfy a range of operational requirements.
Also featuring on the site are four unique design 60m masts for the
communications equipment antennas providing a blend of aesthetic quality with
practical application. The centre considered autonomous for power providing
four levels of fallback from prime power for the main Air Traffic Centre (ATC)
The Main ACC building has a 600m2 ATC room with sufficient sector suites with
the latest technology to accommodate traffic growth for 20 years or a total
traffic volume exceeding 2 million annual movements.
The Centre equipped with new equipment includes ATM display system, ARTAS and
AMHS from Comsoft, while integrated voice communication is supplied by Park Air
Systems and the Micro Nav ATC simulator, is installed in the Emergency ACC. The
Centre has a total of 76 working positions for live ACC, military liaison and
emergency/training roles. This represents a tripling of current demand.
The ATM system permits dynamic sectorisation to task individual air traffic
controllers in the most safe and efficient manner and with a number of modern
tools such as arrival (AMAN), departure and stack managers as well as medium
term conflict detection to optimize traffic handling.
The GCAA is considered the pioneer in areas such as integration of ADS-B in the
surveillance picture through the ARTAS tracker, which was installed in the
centre on 01 June 2009, design and operational implementation of RNAV 1 routes
both for en-route and in terminal environments. Together, these modernisation
programmes serve to alleviate traffic congestion, minimise delays, shorten
routes and create the capacity necessary for sustained growth in air traffic
necessary for the economic well-being of the country.
Some achievements of
1. Selection of the SZC for the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Award for Best
Technical Initiative Submission and Supervision.
2. The launch of AviPedia (Aviation Encyclopedia) - the new electronic
learning center for aviation. It aims to enhance and strengthen the knowledge
and professional awareness in most aviation aspects.
3. The successful implementation of the UAE Airspace Coordination and
Contingency Cell (UACACC) and its evolution to a web based platform.
4. The in-house development of an Arrival Manager (AMAN) serving the
busiest airport in the Middle East.
5. The ongoing ATC promotion campaign which publicises the ATC profession
among UAE Nationals.
6. The UAE GCAA was declared as the first country in the world to establish
the Aeronautical Message Handling System, connecting three countries namely,
Oman, Jordan and Qatar to the UAE.
7. The first country in the Middle East to implement the RNAV 1 En-route.
8. The first county to introduce the ADS-B in the Middle East.
9. The front runner in the Middle East in preparedness and compliance with
the ICAO’s plans of introducing the New FPL system globally from 15 November
10. OLDI – On Line Data Interchange – First in the Middle East internally
linking the SZC with Abu Dhabi International Airport and internationally with
11. Stripless ATC System – another first in the Middle East.
With the continued support of our
Stakeholders we strive to continuously evolve our ATM and to maintain and
consolidate our leadership with the ANS globally.