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HE Mohammed A. Ahli

UAE, DUBAI - Transport

Mission Control

Director General, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA)


Mohammed A. Ahli was appointed by HH the Ruler of Dubai to the post of Director General of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), effective from November 15, 2007, subsequent to the restructuring of the Department of Civil Aviation. He also holds the position of CEO of Dubai Air Navigation Services (DANS), with responsibility for the provision of Air Traffic Services within Dubai airspace. He launched his aviation career in 1966 by joining Dubai National Air Travel Agency (Dnata), and obtained specialized training with BOAC, now British Airways, before rising to the position of Director of Ground Services.

What is the role of the DCAA within the economy of Dubai, and the tourism and transport sectors? The DCAA is mandated by Law No 22/2007, as amended by Law […]

What is the role of the DCAA within the economy of Dubai, and the tourism and transport sectors?

The DCAA is mandated by Law No 22/2007, as amended by Law No. 19 of 2010, to define the general policy of civil aviation in the Emirate of Dubai, manage civil aviation operations to secure aero-political rights for the designated airlines in the Emirate, and their implementation. Through the above functions and powers, the DCAA works toward achieving a safe and efficient air transport framework within Dubai, connecting it to the global network and facilitating and sustaining the growth of the local economy. The success of Dubai’s aviation industry has a direct impact on the Emirate. It contributes around 28% of its GDP. The DCAA also coordinates with the other transport sectors and the tourism industry. The tourism industry goes hand-in-hand with air transport. While not directly visible as such, there is an indirect contribution of our role in the tourism sector. Multi-mode transportation in the cargo industry is prominent. However, compared to the growth of passenger air transport, there does not seem to be an equally great demand for multi-modal passenger transportation. The DCAA provides leadership in monitoring the implementation of the Dubai Aviation Sector Strategy to ensure that Dubai becomes the aviation capital of the world.

How will the Dubai’s vision to further develop the infrastructure, in combination with the World Expo 2020 bid, impact Dubai’s aviation industry?

Upgrades to Terminal 3 and the development of Al Maktoum International Airport (AMIA) are being carried out pursuant to the Master Plan 2020, which is designed to meet a projected demand of 115 million passengers and 570,000 aircraft movements per annum. The success of Dubai ‘sairlines in providing global connectivity, and the demand to be created by World Expo 2020, have prompted the authorities to revise the strategic plans extending to 2045, and further develop infrastructure to facilitate growth. Through this process, we also contribute to the development of the aviation infrastructure for the benefit of the global aviation industry and the traveling public.

How do the main airlines operating from Dubai cooperate to improve in terms of efficiency and the sustainability of the sector?

Airlines as stakeholders will have their individual needs and concerns. The main airlines that operate out of Dubai are those designated by the Emirate to conduct international air transport. Their needs and concerns require projection in a strategic plan. Indeed, output would be meaningless without their participation. We have developed a shared understanding to formulate our policies in order to achieve the best results. Although our role differs from those operating out of Dubai and coming into it, we are committed to equally facilitating the airlines that are operating into Dubai.

“The success of Dubai’s aviation industry has a direct impact on the Emirate.”

What are the biggest challenges Dubai’s aviation industry faces?

The exponential growth of passenger numbers, coupled with air traffic movements, pose a serious challenge to the aviation industry in terms of capacity on the ground and in the air. They are adequately addressed separately by infrastructure development bodies and through the negotiation of airspace structure enhancement.

What needs to be built in order to facilitate development and maintain the open skies policy?

The Strategic Plan 2020 is designed to support the expansion of Dubai International so as to meet envisaged demand growth. Approximately $8 billion in investment has been made to continue infrastructure development, which will respond to the 10-year traffic forecast. The development plan includes the expansion of Terminal 2. The construction of Concourse 3 has already concluded and it is in operation. The construction of Concourse D, which will be connected to Terminal 1, is also in progress. Furthermore, an additional 30,000 sqm of cargo space will be built. Upon the completion of the ongoing projects, Dubai International will have the capacity to handle 90 million passengers. Eventually, AMIA will be developed as a second hub to accommodate 160 million extra passengers.

What are the major achievements that DCAA has reached in regulating civil aviation and providing an adequate regulatory framework?

Dubai does not believe in an over-regulated industry. We adhere to the international standards and recommended practices of the ICAO, the aviation law, and the regulations of the federal government. We implement these, and also ensure stakeholder compliance. The framework established for a safe and secure air transport industry, compared to the number and volume of the movements of aircraft, passengers, and cargo within the Emirate itself is a major achievement. We also ensure that the industry functions with due regard to the environment.

How do you orchestrate your policies in response to diverse requests for landing and operations in Dubai?

Our policy includes the provision of excellent services to our customers. HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, recently announced an innovative concept of “m-government” (mobile government), which transforms the e-government process to mobile. HH Sheikh Mohammed also directed federal and local government entities to implement the concept within a period of two years with a view to providing an efficient and excellent service to customers. Currently, we handle scheduled and ad—hoc operations through a 24/7 service and several other approval processes using the e-government system. We will be transforming the current processes to the m-government environment in the near future, keeping in line with the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed, and to enhance our customer-friendly service further.

What relationship do you maintain with other local aviation authorities and government entities?

We have an excellent relationship with the other emirates and the federal authorities. DCAA and the Dubai Travel and Tour Agents Group (DTTAG) recently signed an MoU to cooperate with travel business activities within Dubai.

What common actions do you aim to take to facilitate the development of the tourism industry?

We place importance on education and the development of leadership skills for the local community. This will ensure a productive, well-educated workforce in the tourism industry capable of contributing to the growth of the aviation industry in Dubai, and also have a significant impact on potential students, families, schools, and the broader community.



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