Airport Expansion To Support Sharjah’s Growth Plans
Sharjah’s plans to boost regional connectivity were high on the agenda at a meeting held recently between Sheikh Khalid bin Issam Al Qassimi, chairman of the emirate’s Department of Civil Aviation, and a team from Oxford Business Group, OBG.
Sheikh Khalid told OBG that given its firm foundations, the local aviation industry was well placed to help boost inbound tourism and support the emirate’s businesses.
“Sharjah has traffic rights to 161 countries. However, only 21 percent of them are currently being utilised,” he said, adding, “This provides Sharjah’s aviation sector with huge growth potential.”
The emirate’s new airspace structure, which will be implemented in early December, was another key topic of discussion at the meeting. Devised with the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority, the redesign had become a priority for Sharjah, due to the increase in traffic in the UAE’s airspace, which is among the busiest in the world.
“The design will provide separate entry gateways, holding points and flight pathways into the UAE’s airports and allow for further growth,” Sheikh Khalid explained. The number of airspace gateways for Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai will be increased under the new design, which separates air traffic into the UAE’s airports.
On the subject of safety and security at Sharjah International Airport, Sheikh Khalid told OBG that the department was taking steps to modernise the facility where necessary as part of a broader bid to improve its classification. The airport is currently classified as a category II facility and operating at near capacity.
The aim is to take the airport’s classification up a band to category III, he said. “To achieve this, we are undertaking several projects, including the renovation of our air traffic control tower and the installation of improved lighting, navigational aids and ground movement radar,” he added.
OBG’s representatives met Sheikh Khalid as part of their research for ‘The Report: Sharjah 2018’, the global research and consultancy firm’s forthcoming publication on the emirate’s economy.
[Source: Emirates Government News Agency/WAM/MOHD AAMIR/Chris Moran -/- Media Relations]
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