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About Awards

Established in 2016,Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Aviation Award aims to shine light on States, Business Organizations and Individuals around the world, by recognizing their contribution to the success of aviation industry. This triennial award reflects UAE’s commitment to promote aviation and the support to ICAO’s ‘No Country Left Behind’ initiative.

Aviation industry is a major contributor to not only the UAE but global economy. Its impact as the catalyst to trade and tourism is well recognized. Hundreds millions of people are directly or indirectly associated with this sector. State institutions, business organizations as well as the members of general public are equally involved in making aviation central to our lives. With a monetary prize of a generous US $1 million, the Award honors contributions to make aviation safer, liberal and innovative by developing knowledge, helping others or exerting personal influence for the good of the industry.

The Award is managed under the Chairmanship of His Excellency Sultan Al Mansoori – UAE Minister of Economy and the Chairman of GCAA. A group of international Strategic Partners contribute in the evaluation process. In order to make this a comprehensive and all encompassing, the Award has been divided in six categories that represent a unique mix of aviation business.

Category 1 - State with most improved Quality of Aviation Infrastructure

Air transport brings tourists and investment into the country and helps businesses trade their goods and services around the world. Quality of Aviation infrastructure indicator measures the overall level of infrastructure at airports, quality of airlines and air navigation services as well as ancillary services associated with the aviation. World class air transport infrastructure improves the States’ ability to connect with potential markets, other emerging countries and fast growing cities to help drive their economic growth. According to the recent data published by IATA, over 1,400 scheduled airlines, 26,000 aircraft in service, 3,900 airports and 173 air navigation services providers, the aviation industry provides an unparalleled and global platform for individuals and businesses alike supporting sustainable economic development. Characterized by a steady growth in the demand for the air travel and freight movement, economists forecast that air traffic volumes will double by 2032. The expected growth draws attention towards to the quality of air transport infrastructure to ensure safe, secure and orderly provision of services in a sustainable manner. The global inter dependence of aviation industry is well understood. Therefore, to reap the benefits of a promising future, it is absolutely critical that States start taking practical measures today to meet the demands of tomorrow. Innovative and pragmatic thinking is required to attract investment in the development of air transport infrastructure. States need to attract diversified funding sources, private sector engagement, business legislation reforms to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), the public-private partnerships (PPP) or other incentive schemes.


Category 2 - Outstanding Global Connectivity Award

Connectivity leads to socioeconomic development, prosperity and general improvement of living standards. Therefore, in the context of a globalized economy, more and more States acknowledge the benefits of allowing market forces to determine and improve the development of air services. There are numerous examples of States that achieved meaningful socioeconomic development by leveraging their liberalized air transport systems. Liberalized markets result in high degree of choice for the customers to enjoy of air travel opportunities at competitive prices and encourage the service providers to become efficient and service orientated. Air transport relations between individual States are governed through the Air Service Agreements (ASA). These agreements define the terms of possible routes, the maximum number of allowable flights, and the air carriers permitted to operate between the two cities. Recognizing the need for liberalized agreements, this category of the Award honors States that have carried out the highest number ‘fully liberalized’ agreements in the past three year period.


Category 3 - Outstanding Resource Contribution to ICAO Programs

The ‘ No Country Left Behind’ initiative focuses and expands ICAO’s support to States in regards to the implementation of Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs), in a globally harmonized manner, so that all States have access to the significant socio-economic benefits of a safe and reliable aviation system. Capacity and capabilities development is a capital intensive exercise. It is often, not the will to enhance but the lack of resources that lead to the lack of development in least developed States. A number of United Nations led initiatives such as Millennium Declaration aim to provide support through broad and sustained efforts to create a shared future. However, there is a constant competition between UN agencies as many vie for the funding from the same source. Member States contribute voluntary funds to support ICAO Technical Assistance Program. These funds support projects in the fields of aviation safety, air navigation capacity and efficiency, security and facilitation leading to the economic development of air transport and environmental protection for the States in need. It is understood that owing to their economic wellbeing, certain countries have the means to contribute more as compare with the less privileged. Therefore, in order to create a level playing field and to stimulate a growth trend in overall funding contribution to ICAO, this category encourages and recognizes the States that have consistently, over a period of 3 years, increased the ratio of their financial contributions to ICAO in its Technical Assistance program.


Category 4 - Outstanding International Cooperation Programs

ICAO’s objective to meet the aviation safety and security standards is based on the capacity and capability building strategies in the Least Developed Countries (LDC). The corresponding Human Resources Development strategies established by Member States and the aviation community ensure that the LDCs have access to a sufficient number of qualified and competent personnel to operate, manage and maintain the current and future air transport system at prescribed international standards. ICAO International Cooperation Programs are based on the principals of collaborative efforts in advancing technical knowledge of the member States. States with well-developed and recognized capabilities, jointly publish a training program for the developing countries. This program provides specialized training delivered by the multitude of training organizations within the State. The Outstanding Contribution to International Cooperation Programs Awards aims to recognize member States that have delivered the highest number of training and capability enhancement programs over the past 3 years.


Category 5 - Aviation personality of the Triennium

The Aviation Personality of the Triennium celebrates individuals who have consistently exhibited dynamic leadership, clear vision for the advancement of aviation and made a lasting contribution to the air transport business. The award recognises leaders who have played a crucial role in shaping the success of the industry through their outstanding leadership, personal commitment and strategic thinking with industry-wide implications. These are the individuals who have not only successfully led organizations but have also made a difference in the global aviation business. They have gone forward despite the adversities, setting examples for others to follow. Their efforts have transformed operational, commercial or regulatory practices. Every segment of the industry including but not limited to a regulatory bodies, airlines, airports, MROs, manufacturing organizations, training institutes or any other organization associated with the aviation industry is considered in this Award category. The judging will be based on all the achievements and performance of the past 3 Years.


Category 6 - Innovation (aviation safety, security, sustainability, passenger experience and environment)

The recipient of this prestigious Award is an individual or organization who has developed an outstanding innovative product, technology, process or service that clearly demonstrates to have improved the aviation safety/security standards, sustainability and environmental impact of the industry, or passengers’ experience whether in flight or on ground. This Award aims to celebrate excellence, passion, and hard work of committed individuals and organizations who dare to take a chance and make a difference. We are looking for technological and operational innovations that have or can lead to reduced risks of accidents, curtail carbon emissions, improved fuel efficiencies, developed alternate fuels, reduced flight times or generally improved the convenience and comfort factor for passengers.

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