Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the General Civil Aviation Authority, GCAA, has said that estimated total investment in the UAE’s aviation sector amounts to AED1 trillion. This investment includes improvements to airport infrastructure and a fleet of 884 commercial aircraft, reflecting the UAE’s position as a significant competitor in the international aviation sector, he added.
In an interview with the Emirates News Agency, WAM, Al Suwaidi said that the Authority is currently re-planning internal routes to extend to neighbouring countries, with the aim of increasing airspace capacity, as well as to introduce a new navigation management system by 2020, confirming the ability of the UAE to meet the expected demands of air navigation in 2020 and beyond, achieve environmental efficiency, and generate annual financial savings of over AED50 million for airline companies.
Al Suwaidi expects an increase in the number of passengers arriving at the country’s airports of 5.2 percent, or around 142 million passengers while noting that the UAE’s airports received more than 1.4 billion passengers since their construction, and in less than five years they will celebrate the welcoming of two billion passengers.
Al Suwaidi added that the contribution of the aviation sector to the country’s GDP in 2018 reached 15 percent, confirming its importance to country’s economic diversification strategies.
The GCAA Director-General went on to say that the Authority will register 6,438 drones by the end of 2018, according to guidelines and specifications, noting that drones must be registered on the authority’s unified e-platform, to create a safe, civil aviation environment and protect the country’s airspace.
The UAE accounts for around 45 percent of the Arab aviation sector, Al Suwaidi highlighted, adding that this figure takes into consideration the number of passengers and aircraft capacity, as well as the arrival of five to six aircrafts per month to its fleet of four national carriers, which increased the investment potential of this sector and promises new investment opportunities for the private sector, whose investments in the industry account for 10 to 15 percent, compared to equivalent government investments.
He also highlighted the readiness of the country’s airports and national airlines to receive the visitors of Expo 2020 Dubai and handle the air traffic that will accompany this international event, while noting that the country’s airports have received 69,467 planes in 2018.
Al Suwaidi added that the UAE will host, in cooperation with the ICAO, a conference on the use of blockchain technology in planes in April 2019, which will provide an opportunity for generating business and raising the operations capacity of all sectors, especially the aviation sector, while stressing that the conference will be held for the first time in the world.
He explained that the first edition of the Global Investment in Aviation Summit, GIAS 2019, themed, ‘Linking Developed and Emerging Markets through Attractive Aviation Investment Opportunities’ will take place on 28th and 29th January 2019, with the participation of representatives of 500 international aviation sector financing companies, as well as investors and aircraft manufacturers.
Al Suwaidi noted that the two-day summit would witness the presence of senior delegations from 40 countries and representatives of airline companies, aviation experts, financial and technical officials, and more than 300 major investors, who will discuss relevant ideas and challenges. He stressed that the summit will be the first to address the topic of investing in the aviation sector, and will be attended by ministers of aviation and CEOs of major international companies operating in the industry, with the aim of increasing the level of investment of the private sector in aviation.
The GCAA Director-General said that the participation of ministers, CEOs of civil aviation companies and relevant companies and businesspeople from around the world would highlight the importance of the summit and the UAE’s international position in the aviation sector.