The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) was established in 1996 by Federal Cabinet Decree (Law 4) to regulate Civil Aviation and provide designated aviation services with emphasis on safety and security and to strengthen the aviation industry within the UAE and its upper airspace. The main office is located in Abu Dhabi and the regional office is located in Dubai to serve the northern Emirates.
The GCAA, which is the sole authority for the control and regulation of civil aviation in the UAE, is responsible for the provision of en-route air navigation services and all aspects of flight safety. In late 2009, the GCAA opened its new Air Navigation Centre, The Sheikh Zayed Centre, which is considered the largest and busiest air traffic management facility in the Middle East as well as one of the world’s most technically advanced centres in terms of its design.
In 2009, GCAA adopted an Overall Transformation Program (OTP) which the outputs of which was executed as early as 2010. The program aims at making a quantum leap in terms of work efficiency and effectiveness by developing a strategic plan and restructuring the corporate and governmental body of the Authority, in a way that enables it to work inline with the UAE's strategic purposes and cope with the ongoing development in the aviation sector in accordance with international standards.
The United Arab Emirates, represented by GCAA, is an active member of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and its specialized committees. It is also a member of the Arab Civil Aviation Commission (ACAC) Executive Council, and currently H.E Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director General of GCAA is heading the ACAC Executive Council.
The authority functions:
1. Promulgate the general policy for civil aviation and propose laws and regulations which ensure the organization thereof, forming the necessary committees to implement such policies and representing the State in the negotiations on matters involving its functions, and proposing the conclusion of bilateral agreements in the area of civil aviation and aerial meteorology, in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.
2. Promulgate rules related to overflight of the territory of the State, landing and departing from its airports, and the conditions of carriage of passengers, cargo and mail according to the Law, and in coordination with local authorities.
3. Determine areas over which flying is prohibited, restricted or dangerous on coordination with the concerned authorities in the State.
4. Determine aerial navigation routes to be followed on entry, departure or overflight by those aircraft given permission to transit the territory of the State.
5. Determine the condition for the registration of aircraft in the State, the registering and issue of the airworthiness certificates, and the specifications of nationality and registration symbols, and notifying the International Civil Aviation Organization regarding aircraft to which these matters apply and if any changes that may occur thereto.
6. Determine requirements for the appointment of aircraft crew members and issue the necessary licenses and related documents as appropriate.
7. Determine the documents which should be carried on board aircraft in the conduct of and inspect compliance of those aerial navigation aircraft registered in the State.
8. Promulgate the rules which ensure protection of aerial navigation lights and signals, in coordination with the local authorities.
9. Undertake the Air Traffic Control operations in the State.
10. Ensure enforcement of accepted international regulations and standards at airports of the State, including the aviation agreement, and following up their execution in coordination with the local authority.
11. Promulgate and organize training programs as appropriate to various aviation specialties.
12. Supervise the maintenance and repair of aircraft and the extent of conformity of manufacture with international and local specifications, and the locations in which such maintenance and repair are accomplished , and issue the necessary certificates and licenses for conducting such activities.