The aviation industry is a key enabler of the UAE economy. With growth of air traffic expected to increase from 2,200 flight movements a day in 2014 to 5,100 flight movements daily in 2030, optimizing airspace is critical to handling increasing capacity demands, efficiency and overall growth. Recognizing such importance, the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has strategically invested in understanding its airspace challenges and implementing the necessary changes.
H.E Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi stated “Ensuring appropriate readiness for our aviation infrastructure to accommodate the UAE aviation strategies rests as a top strategy for the GCAA. The UAE airspace is considered amongst the busiest in the world and we are determined to continuously enhance the air traffic operations safety and efficiency.”
Ahmed Al Jallaf, Assistant Director General Air Navigation Services, stated “We are pleased to announce the selection of Airbus ProSky to develop a conceptual design for the UAE En Route airspace. It is the logical step following the successful outcome of the UAE airspace study conducted in 2012 and 2013. This project will be a continuity of what was started two years ago and will pave the way for further efficiency gains.”
The agreement also includes a Collaborative Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) study and operational trial. The output shall result in a concept of operations specific to the UAE environment.
In the 2012-2103 airspace study, Airbus ProSky identified Air Traffic Management (ATM), airspace and Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS) challenges resulting in 53 recommendations for improvement.
Hafid El Boukfaoui, Regional Director of Airbus ProSky, remarked, “This marks a significant step forward in alleviating current saturation and addressing capacity challenges in the UAE. We feel honored that GCAA has chosen to partner with us in their effort to optimize airspace efficiency.”
A comprehensive airspace design is a key element ensuring the airspace will be optimally used to support growing aviation needs and activity levels. It also leverages capabilities as they are deployed as part of ICAO Block Upgrades and will accommodate the transition to a full Performance Based Navigation (PBN) airspace environment.
The UAE FIR is predominantly a complex En Route environment with the majority of traffic spending around 85 percent of the flight distance flown in a climb or descent phase. The conceptual designs that will be created by Airbus ProSky will interface the appropriate connectivity to Control Areas CTA’s, which is key to ensuring integration into the overall UAE network route structure and international interfaces.