GCAA set to join European community for safety of foreign airlines

April 2, 2014 11:30 am

A team of international auditors from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) recently visited the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to assess and monitor the ability of the GCAA to discharge its safety oversight responsibilities over foreign airlines as set in the European Commission regulations and standards

This visit comes after the signature of the working arrangement between the two organisations in June 2013, which witnessed the UAE’s accession to the European Commission’s (EC) safety programme.

H.E Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director General, GCAA, met with the lead auditor of the European team, Mr. Ernst, who provided a brief summary of the objectives of this visit. He explained that it is to ensure the commitment and application of the GCAA to the European agency’s regulations within the state.

Al Suwaidi described the importance of the GCAA’s accession to the European programme for the safety of the UAE citizen and for its role in unifying the inspections standards and implementation in the UAE Particularly considering the aviation sectors steady growth in the UAE and the movement of foreign airlines within the state.

Al Suwaidi also said the accession of the GCAA to the European programme will help to reduce foreign airlines violation of safety standards in the UAE. In addition, it will allow the GCAA to promptly inform the European agency and the Member States about such airlines violations.

Ismail Mohammed Al Balooshi, Assistant Director-General, Aviation Safety Affairs, explained the steps taken by the GCAA to ensure the effectiveness of the authority’s commitment to the terms of the European agency. He described how the GCAA formed a research group to study European legislation and its provisions and then developed an action plan to implement them. Furthermore, the GCAA has provided training courses for the inspectors to apprise them on the new standards, regulations and European legislation.

The European audit team was accompanied by Mr. Sultan Mohammed Al Zara, Director of the Department of Foreign operators Affairs of the GCAA and the representative of the authority to the European Commission for the safety programme. The visit lasted a total of five days, during which there was a field tour of the airports to monitor the efficiency of the authority’s inspectors and their application of European standards.

At the closure meeting, the audit team expressed admiration for the level of the European safety standards applied and effort made towards the development of the Safety programme in complying with the regulations and standards of the European agency. Especially considering the UAE is becoming an increasingly important player in this field because of its geographic location and the variety of foreign airlines operating within the country.

The audit team will prepare a final report on the visit, which may include some important observation for submission to the European Commission, in order to officially declare UAE participation and commitment to the European Commission.

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Shaimaa El Nazer
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