x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

UAE flights rise nearly 7% to hit two-year high of 1,888 a day

Growth largely because of rise of country's long-haul and budget airlines, and comes despite restriction of more than half the country¿s airspace to commercial traffic by the military.

The UAE's aviation sector has hit a two-year high, with an average of 1,888 flights each day last month, the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) says in its latest report.

The flights represent an increase of 6.9 per cent compared with the same period last year. In total for the month there were 56,654 take-offs, landings and overflights in the UAE, emphasising the country's status as one of the busiest airspaces in the region. The growth is largely because of the rise of the UAE's long-haul and budget airlines, and it comes despite the restriction of more than half the country's airspace to commercial traffic by the military.

The GCAA's report shows that Dubai was the largest source of air traffic, with 25,363 flights. The second-largest contributor was foreign airline overflights, at 11,938. Abu Dhabi ranked third, with 8,293.

Traffic in and out of Sharjah, Al Ain, Ras al Khaimah and Fujairah, as well as traffic between local airports, made up the rest of the activity.

The newest airport in the UAE, Al Maktoum International Airport in Jebel Ali, accounted for 133 air cargo flights.

On the safety front, the agency issued eight infrastructure safety violation tickets and conducted 28 inspections and audits with operators.

The UAE is taking on a greater role in global aviation, said GCAAsaid, with Captain Aysha al Hamili, the UAE's permanent representative to the International Civil Aviation Organisation Council, recently elected vice-president for 2010-2011.

The election of Captain al Hamili "highlights the active role played by the UAE in specialised technical committees, efforts aimed at strengthening ties in the field of civil aviation between the UAE and many countries and successful representation of Arab interests at ICAO", said Saif Mohammed al Suwaidi, the director general of the GCAA.

igale@thenational.ae