UAE launches AOPA branch to promote concept of general aviation
The UAE has made a positive step towards developing a genuine platform for private and general aviation in the country with the launch of a branch of AOPA, the aircraft owner and pilot association.
The UAE becomes the 70th local branch to join the international organisation and the first chairman Yousif Al Hammadi received an official commemorative coin from Craig Fuller, President of AOPA in the United States at the Abu Dhabi Air Expo general aviation event at Al Bateen airport.
Fuller was joined by Bruce Landsberg, President of AOPA Safety Foundation at the three day event which had been designed to promote the idea of general aviation in the UAE.
Al Hammadi, chairman of the show’s oganising committee and deputy general manager of Al Bateen executive airport said the new branch will promote GA as an efficient means of self-transportation and will also encourage teenagers to become pilots. He said that AOPA UAE will also play a major role in promoting access to airspace, airports and international travel.
Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) which owns and operated Al Bateen as well as two other general aviation airports in the emirate is backing the launch of UAE AOPA.
Al Hammadi said: “Launching the AOPA UAE today marks a significant milestone for aviation in the UAE in general and for Abu Dhabi as a leader in the industry.”
The IAOPA is a nonprofit federation of autonomous, nongovernmental, national general aviation organizations. It has represented international general aviation for nearly 50 years. The combined total of individuals represented by these constituent member groups of IAOPA is over 470,000 pilots, who fly general aviation aircraft for business and personal transportation.
Arabian Aerospace editor Alan Peaford said, “General aviation enthusiasts, private and leisure pilots around the world will welcome the UAE’s participation of AOPA. Developing a real passion for aviation and for flying can only really come from access to the skies. While UAE airspace is busy there is still plenty of available room at a lower level that GA pilots could use. Internationally AOPA works well to lobby and help promote the cause for pilots and this is a major step forward in recognising the potential for the region to expand its aviation interests.”