The Business Year

Mahmoud Al Marashdeh

Accountable Manager, Fujairah Aviation Academy (FUJAA)

Rashid Mohammed

Directing General, Fujairah Customs

From runway to customs, these players ensure the Emirate is fully integrated and running smoothly.

What is the background of your organization?

Mahmoud Al Marashdeh FUJAA has been developed to keep pace with modernization and advancements in the aviation industry. It applies the pilot and engineering standards of various aviation regulatory bodies, including the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). FUJAA has three divisions; the first is private and commercial pilot training, developing students with little or no prior knowledge to a point where they can end up with the experience, skills, and license to work for any commercial airline in the world. The second type of training we offer is engineering training; we have more than 150 students doing our two-year course to become licensed aviation engineers. Part of their training includes a two-month placement with airlines such as Air Arabia and Etihad, where our students work on aircraft in a real work environment. Helicopter training is something that is new to us at FUJAA, and we intend to enhance this area of our operations. The third arm of FUJAA is our maintenance division, which was established to maintain our own aircraft, and we also have approval to do some other maintenance work.

Rashid Mohammed Fujairah Customs was established through an Emiri decree issued by Sheikh Hamad Bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Ruler of Fujairah and Member of the Supreme Council. The Department of Customs, Fujairah, being part of the Federal Customs Authority (FCA) of the UAE, is guided by the rules and regulations of the FCA, which in turn is part of the broader Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Customs. The unification of the rules and documentation process was successfully implemented by the GCC Secretariat, and any issues that arise have always been dealt with amicably. Constant consultations are held at different levels, for example through the UAE FCA, at the GCC level, or internationally.

What partnerships and collaborations are important for your organization?

MAM We have an agreement with Etihad Airways, and it sends us at least 30 sponsored students for engineering training every year. We have graduated our first batch of Etihad students and the airline is very satisfied with the quality of their education, which is fully aligned with the airline’s requirements. We are also working with flydubai on a special pilot training course called MPL. This work is parallel to our long-standing agreements with the military forces of both the UAE and Kuwait to train helicopter pilots.

RM Fujairah Customs is well integrated with the other stake holders like the Fujairah Freezone Authority, the Port of Fujairah, and the Fujairah International Airport. In all these areas, Fujairah Customs officers are present and ensure that clients are well taken care of through fast documentation and inspection at the entry or exit points of the country. Most of the documentation processes are done at the head office operation counter. Electronic documentation through the internet is facilitated as well. The Department of Customs, Fujairah has an ambitious program whereby it is always aiming at upgrading its services by following the latest best practices as guided by international customs’ norms, and regional and federal requirements. This helps to serve the region.

What technology do you implement into your operations at FUJAA?

MAM In terms of engineering, we have the most sophisticated workshops in the region. We have invested in technology that allows us to train our students to a high standard in terms of practical skills. The total course is 2,600 hours long, and at least 40% of that time is practical. The students have to work extensively with the tools, equipment, and facilities, justifying the investments we make in bringing in these resources. In terms of pilot training, the aircraft we use have the most sophisticated cockpits in the world for our students to train with.

What are your expectations for the year ahead?

RM The department meets with clients on a quarterly basis and as necessary. On matters of international-related issues, such as trade agreements and security, the department coordinates with the FCA and GCC and implements the legislated agreement. We are always upgrading our services and training our staff, aiming to be one of the best customs entities in the region and the world.



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