Emirate Regulating Authority in home nation

Emirates Airline

Emirate Regulating Authority in home nation

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Governmental agency empowered to regulate the economic aspects of airline

Extent to which the Emirate airline’s fleet consists of owned vs. leased aircraft.

Union Representation of airline’s pilots and maintenance personnel

F. UAE Labor Law that takes care of Unionism

Emirate Airline is governed by and administrated according to the rules and regulations and the administration of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) in the UAE and was established by a decree of the Federal Cabinet of the country.

The strategic role of the GCAA includes creating and sustaining a culture that promotes compliance with safety and security requirements, improvement in the safety, efficiency and the service standards of ANS and the engagement with other regional and international organizations.

The major duties of the GCAA include the formation of a general policy for the civil aviation sector and the proposal of relevant laws and regulations, rule regarding landing and departing from the airports under its control, conditions of cargo and carriage of passengers, determination of aerial navigation routes and the conditions for aircraft registration in UAE.

The organization also is in-charge of certifying the commercial airlines as well as monitoring and regulating the flight operations. The GCAA, however, does not intervene in the economic affairs of airlines and lets market forces decide the economic aspects like ticket rates and lease and cargo fares. This is in line with the policy of free trade and open skies of the UAE government.

There are no employee unions at Emirate Airline especially for employees based in the UAE in line with the UAE policy of no unions and strikes. However, the UAE employment rules can take care of most of the requirements of the employees that would have required the existence of unions.

A. Emirate Regulating Authority in home nation

Emirate Airline is based in the United Arab Emirate and is majorly owned by the state. Therefore, the airline is governed and regulated by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) in the UAE. This regulatory authority was established in 1996 with the aim of regulating civil aviation and to strengthen the safety and security of flights by a decree of the Federal Cabinet of the country. The regulatory authority controls the air space over the UAE.

The strategic objectives of the GCAA include:

Create and sustain a culture that promotes compliance with safety and security requirements

Improvement in the safety, efficiency and the service standards of ANS

Engage with other regional and international organizations

Create sustainable growth in the aviation industry by facilitating air connectivity and Maintenance of quality, efficiency and transparency of GCAA services (Gcaa.gov.ae, 2016)

The vision of the organization is: ” leading, safe, secure and sustainable civil aviation system” (Gcaa.gov.ae, 2016).

The mission of the GCAA is: “To regulate and oversee aviation safety, security and environment, deliver air navigation services and facilitate air connectivity through international collaboration in order to serve the general public and the civil aviation industry in a responsive and cost-effective manner” (Gcaa.gov.ae, 2016).

The organization lays strict emphasis on security and safety and strives to promote such a culture both at the individual and at the corporate level. It also works in tandem with the stakeholders in the UAE aviation industry and holds healthy dialogue and partnerships. As a strategy for quality maintenance and enhancement of efficiency, the organization follows a process of continuous improvement with a completely professional approach.

The organization has acquired the quality certificate of ISO 9002-1994 accreditation and has obtained the certificate by the division of the organization into three divisions to obtain the certificates of excellence in three phases or spheres of operation namely air navigation services, flight safety services and general administration.

The major duties of the GCAA include the formation of a general policy for the civil aviation sector and the proposal of relevant laws and regulations, rule regarding landing and departing from the airports under its control, conditions of cargo and carriage of passengers, determination of aerial navigation routes and the conditions for aircraft registration in UAE.

B. Certification Requirements for Commercial Airline in UAE

The GCAA is the premier authority in the UAE — the home country of Emirate Airline, for certification for commercial airline and commercial flights within the airspace of UAE and for operating from within the UAE and the use of the airports within the state.

The GCAA conducts this certification process through its policy of aviation safety affairs that includes reporting directly to the Director General of the organization. The organization is responsible for granting of certificates for air navigation and the use of aerodrome, judging airworthiness and operations of flights within and to and from the UAE, licensing of pilots and airlines and regulation of the safety and security of airline operations. For commercial operations for airlines based in the UAE — Emirate Airline, for example, has to obtain certifications for operations from the GCAA which does so through granting of licenses, inspection, certifying, authorization and by conducting regular audits.

All airline and civil aviation operations with the territory of UAE is governed and regulated by the General Civil Aviation Authority Law that was issued on 01 January 1996. The GCCA was established through this law and all the laws and regulations, certifications and licensing according to this law is the responsibility of the GCAA for up-keeping and execution of the Civil Aviation Law with the United Arab Emirates.

This law includes the all civil airline operations within the UAE, registration of all aircraft in the U.A.E regardless of the regulations of any foreign country where the airline might be operating and general air transport.

Hence for any commercial airline, the certifications, licensing and auditing of its operations is controlled and granted by the GCAA as it is the apex regulatory authority for civil aviation in the UAE — the home country of Emirate Airline.

C. Governmental agency empowered to regulate the economic aspects of airline

For civil aviation and civil airliners operating to and from the UAE, there is no regulatory authority or government agency that regulates the financial matters of the airlines. Even though the GCAA is the direct and the supreme authority for regulation, management and certification and licensing of civil airlines, it does not interfere in the economics of airlines as such. There is no legal provision where the GCAA can intervene in the economic affairs of the airlines in matters such as the rates charged or other economic activities like aircraft lease rates etc.,

However, the GCAA is the supreme authority that can exert some control over the routes flown by commercial airlines from the UAE with regards to matters of security. However even in this aspect, the GCAA has an advisory role and cannot legally force any airline to choose a flight path as suggested by it.

This policy is a result of the general liberal transport policy within the UAE and the country’s government consistently endorsed an aviation policy that is viewed as and which is formulated to both fostering competition among the numerous airlines and the airports and in improving the environment of fair competition in the sector. This can be seen in the Open Skier ASAs that the government has established and the number of international and domestic airlines that have established bases in the UAE (Uae-icao.gov.ae, 2016).

Therefore, there is no regulation on the economic aspects of flight operations of airlines in the UAE as the government does not interfere in these matters and let market forces to rule the pricing and other economic issues. However with the aim of promoting fair competition between the airline operating in the UAE the government and the regulating authority can from time to time review particular economic policies of airlines on a case to case basis and make recommendations or regulate some aspects in order to sustain an environment of fair business and competition. However, these are very rare and almost unheard of.

D. Extent to which the Emirate airline’s fleet consists of owned vs. leased aircraft.

Almost all of the aircraft of Emirate Airline are owned by the company. The company started off with two leased planes and gradually increased its fleet over the years. However over the last decade, the airline has gradually done away with lease aircraft and has concentrated on buying state of the art modern airplanes which are more spacious, comfortable, environmentally friendly, safer and most importantly more fuel efficient.

At present, the total number of aircraft that is with the Emirates fleet is at 243. Almost all of the fleet is owned by the airline. The company has successively retired planes from its old fleet and added new ones to the fleet. For example Emirate Airline 26 new aircraft in 2015 that included 15 A380s aircraft, 10 Boeing 777-300ER planes, and 1 Boeing 777 Freight carrier.

In the future, the airline has plans to retire 26 more aircraft from its fleet which would include 12 A330-300s, four A340-300s, one A340-500, six Boeing 777-200ERs, two Boeing 777-300s and one Boeing 777-300ER.

With the retirement of the above-mentioned aircraft, the average age of the fleet of Emirate Airline would become 15.7 years which would be much less than the industry average of 25 years. This would add to the efficiency of the airline in terms of fuel efficiency, environment commitments, and passenger comfort. The airline also plans to retire 13 more aircraft in 2017 and an additional 13 in 2018.

While the airline retires the airplanes in 2016, 2017 and 2018, it would buy 36 new aircraft in 2016 that would include twenty new A380s and sixteen new Boeing 777-300ERs. Emitting 12% less carbon dioxide compared to the retired aircraft and being more fuel efficient, the new aircraft are among the most efficient of the available commercial airplanes. After this process of the retirement of old planes and inclusion of new ones, Emirate Airline would become among the most efficient, comfortable and environmentally friendly airline in the world.

E. Union Representation of airline’s pilots and maintenance personnel

There are no labor or employee unions at Emirates Airlines. There are strict and well-defined labor laws in the UAE that clearly define everything about employment from appointment rules to remuneration to holidays and termination clauses. These rules and regulations also apply to the employees at the Emirates Airlines. However there is no labor or employee union activity in the country and strikes and unions are banned in the monarchy country of UAE. And this is also the trend at the Emirate Airline.

While the airline professes that their remuneration packages are benchmarked with the best players in the industry and based on the prevalent labor laws in each country including the UAE, the airline does not allow employee unions. Hence, there is no pilot’s union or union of ground staff or cabin crew members in the airline.

A report published in The Wall Street Journal on March 20, 2015, titled “Labor Strife an Unwelcome Novelty for Emirates Airline” talks about how the cabin crew complains about long working hours on the job with shortened layovers (Jones, 2015).

Quoting current and former staff at the Emirate Airline, the report states that the there have been repeated complaints from the staff, especially the cabin crew at the airline about a host of issues internally within the airline. One of the prime accusations against the airline has been the additional working hours that are demanded from the crew and the employees by the airline with little layovers in between the duty hours.

The report states that this has never been allowed to blow out of hand and the employees also cannot legally do anything about this except to complain internally as there is no provision to get together employee or labor unions at the airlines especially in the home country of UAE as the country itself does not allow unionism and strikes (Jones, 2015).

According to the report, the airline has conceded to the issue and has been holding a number of staff meetings to allow the employees to openly voice their grievance and have stalled a performance-evaluation system for the cabin staff that is conducted at the end of each flight.

There has hardly been any loss to business or employee unrest at Emirate Airlines in recent years or ever. While labor trouble is a common phenomenon and a headache for most of the global carriers, Emirate Airlines does not have to deal with any such problems that have resulted in strikes or any other form of job action that could have resulted in service disruption.

This aspect is taken care of by the airline in the form of perks that include including free accommodation and free transportation from and to work. According to the airlines, this has helped in keeping a lid on any form of labor strife among its staff even though it has a very large – roughly 20,000, employees

F. UAE Labor Law that takes care of Unionism

The fact that no unions are allowed in the UAE and the Emirate Airline as well is taken care of by the strict employment rules and regulations that are applicable in the UAE. The Emirate Airline also follows the rules — more so as it is a state-controlled airline.

The labor laws that are applicable in the UAE is also applicable for Emirate Airlines for employees based in UAE. The company has a policy of following the employee rules that are prevalent in a particular country. The labor laws in the UAE are applicable for everyone working in the UAE irrespective of the country that employee belongs to. The employment laws in the Emirates are governed by the UAE law that defines everything about employment from anti-discrimination, appointment and remuneration guidelines, holidays and rest and termination of employment (Hasan, Sulieman, Chapman, Stewart & Kong, 2011). The employees and staff at the Emirate Airline can take recourse in these laws while in the UAE and seek redresses from the government especially in relation to the holidays and the rests in between shifts.


Emiratesgroupcareers.com,. (2016). Employee Benefits — Global Opportunities — Explore our Careers — Emirates Group Careers Centre. Retrieved 24 February 2016, from http://www.emiratesgroupcareers.com/english/careers_overview/opportunities/emp_benefits.aspx

Gallant, M., & Pounder, J. (2008). The employment of female nationals in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Education, Business & Society, 1(1), 26-33. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/17537980810861493

Gcaa.gov.ae,. (2016). Aviation Safety Affairs Sector. Retrieved 24 February 2016, from https://www.gcaa.gov.ae/en/Departments/AS/Pages/default.aspx

Gcaa.gov.ae,. (2016). GCAA Strategic Objectives. Retrieved 24 February 2016, from https://www.gcaa.gov.ae/en/AboutGCAA/Pages/StrategicObjectives.aspx

Gcaa.gov.ae,. (2016). Laws. Retrieved 24 February 2016, from https://www.gcaa.gov.ae/en/Pages/Laws.aspx

Gcaa.gov.ae,. (2016). Vision, Mission & Values. Retrieved 24 February 2016, from https://www.gcaa.gov.ae/en/aboutgcaa/pages/visionmissionvalues.aspx

Hasan, S., Sulieman, H., Chapman, C., Stewart, K., & Kong, D. (2011). Community pharmacy in the United Arab Emirates: characteristics and workforce issues. International Journal Of Pharmacy Practice, 19(6), 392-399. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.2042-7174.2011.00134.x

Jones, R. (2015). Labor Strife an Unwelcome Novelty for Emirates Airline. The Wall Street Journal, p. 1. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/articles/labor-strife-an-unwelcome-novelty-for-emirates-airline-1426857624

UAE: Enforceability of a Non-Competition Clause in an Employment Contract. (2003). Arab Law Quarterly, 18(3), 409-412. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/0268055032342785

Uae-icao.gov.ae,. (2016). Aviation in UAE. Retrieved 24 February 2016, from http://www.uae-icao.gov.ae/Contentviewer.aspx?ContentId=6&LinkPath=Home%20%3E%20thE%20UAE%20%3E%20AVIATION%20IN%20UAE

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