x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Dubai airspace 'too congested'

The congested airspace over Dubai would not be eased by a GCC-wide traffic control system.

The congested airspace over Dubai would not be eased by a GCC-wide traffic control system, the UAE's aviation regulator has said. "The airspace over Dubai is too congested," said Saif Mohammed al Suwaidi, the new director general of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). "But I don't think this (GCC-wide plan) will improve conditions." Amid the region's economic boom, the UAE's aviation industry has grown exponentially. Emirates airline now carries more than 20 million passengers a year from its hub in Dubai and more than 100 other airlines also serve the airport. To meet the growing demands, new airport terminals at a cost of tens of billions of dirhams are planned in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. This has raised concerns that flights over the Gulf, already subjected to restrictions in Iran and Saudi Arabia, would begin to be funnelled into an increasingly crowded air corridors.

To better manage the crush of new flights, a regional air traffic system was proposed earlier this year by Dubai Airports, which operates Dubai International and the soon-to-open Al Maktoum International in Jebel Ali. Mr Suwaidi said the crowded airspace would be better managed using upgraded technology and improved management systems. igale@thenational.ae