Roy George, Senior Manager Air Transport Operations, Air Transport and International Affairs in the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), has been working with the civil aviation authority for more than 30 years, and has not only witnessed but also lived the transformation that the aviation sector in Dubai has undergone.
In an exclusive interview with Via Dubai, George shared the changes he has witnessed over these years and how Dubai International Airport, which is the world’s busiest in terms of international passenger traffic, continues to display an exemplary growth, and the driving force behind the growth of Dubai’s aviation sector, which is estimated to contribute over 37.5 per cent to the Emirate’s GDP by 2030.
Excerpts from the interview:
Tell us about your role and responsibilities in the DCAA.
Our section is responsible for ensuring development of air transport in Dubai in line with the government policies.
We handle landing approvals both for Dubai International and Al Maktoum International and my responsibility is to deal with landing permits for all types of aircrafts (in confirmation with Air Service Agreements) at both these international airports.
Each request is looked into and we give permissions in coordination with GCAA guidelines, under which there are several aspects that need to be taken care of.
With the strong growth that aviation sector in Dubai is witnessing, which includes rise in the number of international passengers, increasing number of airlines keen on starting or expanding their operations, this is a challenging task.
Our goal is to ensure that all criteria while granting landing permits are met and at the same time, we grant permissions in the most efficient and quick manner.
You have been working with the Civil Aviation department for over three decades. What kind of changes have you witnessed during these years?
I started my career with the Department of Civil Aviation in 1985, it was also the year when Emirates launched its operations.
I started with airside operations and have gradually moved up the ladder. I have completed 30 years here, which makes me one of the oldest employee of the organisation and have closely witnessed the transformation.
During the time that I started, there were no computers, and DXB used to get only about 30 flights a day, with parking space for only 12 at one point. The airport has undergone massive expansion and with the recent opening of Concourse D, the annual capacity has increased to 90 million passengers.
Today, more than 219 aircraft can be parked at one time and we get over 570 flights landing in a day.
The sector has witnessed an unprecedented growth. Dubai International is the busiest in terms of number of international passengers, its success
is exemplary, and I must add, this has not happened overnight, a lot of efforts have gone into it.
Our marketing department actively promoted Dubai as a destination, conducted events like “Routes” Every area was taken care of.
What do you think has led to this success?
During these years, I have experienced that Dubai has been very progressive in its approach- our leadership is open to new ideas, adopting new technologies and making lot of efforts toward continuous improvement and enhancing efficiencies with the motive of delivering the best quality.
During my initial years, when we would receive landing requests on telex, we were very quick in responding. Today we function 24 hours - which means that irrespective of the time of request, we process it very fast. Our current target time is 30 minutes and the actual time taken is much lesser sometimes.
This went very well with the private jets. Unlike many other airports around the world, where processing a request could take several days, I believe we are the fastest.
On technology front too, the Authority has been very quick in adopting the latest technologies, today everything is online. The growth of Emirates is also a strong factor. The best quality service standards of Emirates, its functioning has also contributed to the growth of the sector.
All of these have happened due to the vision of our wise leadership.
How do you see the scenario changing with expansion of Al Maktoum International?
We are expecting major growth as Al Maktoum International further expands.
With Al Maktoum International, we are expecting more tourist charter flights. Also, as a large number of major projects get completed by 2020, there will be high increase in number of passengers.
How much has been the growth in the number of landings and how are you preparing to handle this growth?
There is a continuous growth of about 8-10 per cent annually.
A lot of new airlines are looking at Dubai market, for instance Asia Pacific region, from where 3-4 new carriers are expected next year.
Technically we are changing and continuously upgrading our systems, making the best use of latest technologies, making procedures more effective, more accurate.
Also, in our department we are planning to add more activities to improve our operations.