The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), which is responsible in defining the general policy for civil aviation and also managing the aviation activities in the Emirate of Dubai, has been instrumental in fuelling the strong growth of the Dubai economy, contributing almost 30 per cent to the GDP and 19 per cent of employment opportunities. DCAA is poised for continuing the excellent track record of impressive growth in 2017 too.
In an exclusive interview with Via Dubai, His Excellency Mohammed Abdulla Ahli, Director General, DCAA, explained how 2016 was a year of major achievements and shared the 2017 outlook.
How was the year 2016 for DCAA in terms of achievements?
The year 2016 has been an important year for the civil aviation industry and Dubai economy as well.
We could witness an overall growth here in Dubai in spite of slow growth elsewhere.In a way, Dubai could beat the global trend because of the wholehearted support and progressive approach of our visionary leader His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the direction and the continuous support of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman & Chief Executive - Emirates Airlines & Group, Chairman Dubai Airports. The aviation sector in particular witnessed an unprecedented growth. Dubai International remained the busiest in terms of number of international passengers.
Then, our two international airports are gearing up to serve up to 146 million passengers by 2025 and there will be corresponding huge expansion in related fields in the aviation sector.
The Dubai International airport, which overtook leading airports in the world, saw passenger traffic climbing to 83 million in 2016 and expects 89 million people using the facility this year.
It was a year of innovation and excellence at the DCAA where we saw a host of major initiatives taken for making innovation a part of work culture within the DCAA and also among our stakeholders.
Our ‘Be Innovative’ initiative has been well-received by one and all. The enthusiasm is encouraging us to take up more such initiatives in our march for a ‘perfectly innovative’ environment in the aviation sector. All our employees have whole-heartedly subscribed to the novel thinking.
The ‘Be Innovative’ culture has truly influenced our staff as evidenced by the ‘innovative’ quality in their services. We took innovation initiatives to the next level in line with the UAE’s National Innovation Strategy.
The department did everything to inculcate the culture of innovation among one and all, from top echelons to the lowest staff, and even to outsiders and stakeholders, to earn the epithet of ‘The Most Innovative People in the world’.
What were the other achievements in adopting technology?
We have been continuously upgrading our systems, making the best use of the latest technologies, making procedures more effective and more accurate. We will add more activities to improve our operations. We have adopted ‘e-payment’ for collection of revenue. It enables all our customers including the airlines, to submit their applications and make the payments online and saves their time.
The Corporate Support Department, the procurements division, which is responsible for all procurements within the DCAA, has made 100 per cent of its procedures online including the payments. We have also converted tenders to e committee, wherein the entire process can be done online. Supplier registration is another area where we have gone 100 per cent online.
How do you highlight DCAA’s technology initiatives?
In addition to directly informing our clients and stakeholders, we actively participate in key events at national and international levels.
During our participation in the Gitex Technology Week 2016, as part of the Dubai Government pavilion, we displayed the latest smart and innovative services in order to enhance the experience of our customers.
Among the prominent showcasing was ‘Drone Hunter’. The aircraft was introduced to identify rogue drones operating too close to the city’s airports.
In cooperation with the General Directorate of Police, we inaugurated the newly created electronic system to issue permits for transportation of dangerous goods from, to and through Dubai International and Al Maktoum International Airport.
The new system serves the clients of airlines, licensed cargo companies in dealing with dangerous goods and the system is electronically linked between the departments of accidents investigation and aviation safety and Dubai Police General Department of airport security. By linking the system with the Dubai Police Head Quarters, we ensure the importance of the strategic partnership in providing excellent services to achieve the best world practices.
In April, we organised the 4th World Aviation Safety Summit which brought in the desired effect to highlight the challenges facing the global aviation industry and suggest remedial measures. We could bring together international decision makers in aviation safety, regulatory authorities, airport and airline operators and other stakeholders.
What are your initiatives to ensure safety and security to passengers and assets?
The unprecedented growth in passenger numbers and airlines necessitates the need for ensuring safety and security for all stakeholders, passengers, airlines and the general public. The DCAA is fully prepared to face this challenge by adopting advanced technology and deploying trained personnel for the job.
We are well-equipped to assume this huge responsibility of ensuring safety by virtue of our early planning, far-sighted strategies and above all the ability to deploy the required financial resources and human capital.
We made sure that the right and time-tested technology is deployed by world class companies and experts. At a time when the aviation industry continues to grow and become more complex, it is important that we reinforce an effective safety culture. For this, we are adopting global standards involving our human resources, financial resources and the best technology. Going forward, we will deploy state-of-the-art technology, trained personnel and proven world class processes to see that security is not compromised.
How do you foresee 2017 performance and what are your expectations and resolutions?
First of all, we welcome 2017 with much hope and happiness as we are poised to continue the winning race in the aviation sector this year also.
Dubai international airport is fast approaching the target of 100 million passengers in 2020. More than these enviable numbers, Dubai will be regarded by the world as one of the most modern and safest airports. This growth presents before us the challenge to ensure that we offer the best services while staying committed to safety of the skies. In order to reach this goal and go beyond, we are adopting innovation as our slogan for the benefit of all our passengers, customers and stakeholders at large.
Our guiding inspirations are the visions of our leaders. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has set very high standard. His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman & Chief Executive - Emirates Airlines & Group, Chairman Dubai Airports, said: “We are poised to significantly boost Dubai’s economy by creating a world-class facility capable of handling the growing number of passengers visiting and transiting our city.”
We look forward to many new initiatives in 2017 amid the robust growth that Dubai’s aviation sector is witnessing.