Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has received accreditation from the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to operate the country’s first Aeromedical Centre (AeMC).
The GCAA is the government regulatory body responsible for civil aviation in the UAE. They are bringing their rules and regulations in line with those of the European aviation regulator, EASA.
As part of this alignment, medical clinics may apply to the Authority for special approval as an “Aeromedical Centre” or “AeMC”. This grants extended privileges to the clinic, to allow additional functions to be performed on behalf of the regulator.
The authorisation was received following a detailed review of Etihad Airways Medical Centre (EAMC), including its policy and procedure framework, and its highly qualified medical professionals. These requirements reflect the fact that in approving a medical facility as an AeMC, the GCAA is delegating significant responsibility and therefore extremely high standards must be met and maintained thereafter.
As a result, Etihad Airways Medical Centre will now have the authority to issue initial medical certificates to pilots, air traffic controllers and other professional aviation licence holders. Reissuance of certificates will also be delegated to Etihad Airways Medical Center. With over 2,000 pilots and 5,000 cabin crew currently employed at Etihad Airways, the accreditation will significantly impact efficiency of the medical experience for employees.
Dr Nadia Bastaki, Vice President Medical Services at Etihad Airways, said: “It is an honour for the Etihad Airways Medical Centre to receive this recognition and become the first Aeromedical Centre in the UAE to adopt new GCAA regulation. This accreditation is a great addition to the world-class medical services we offer our people and reflects the high standard of service which has been implemented at the airline’s medical centre in recent years. It will enhance the care that we provide to our pilots and cabin crew, thereby contributing to Etihad’s number priority – safety. The Aviation medical team at EAMC has been ranked as the highest performing team in the region for last three years by the GCAA. This accreditation not only makes us proud as a team but also recognises the hard work that we put in every day.”
Eng. Ismaeil Al Balooshi, Assistant Director General for Aviation Safety Affairs, GCAA, said: “GCAA is pleased to award Etihad Airways Medical Centre the first Aeromedical Centre Approval in the UAE. This step comes after the efforts deployed by Etihad Airways to fulfill all the requirements to run and operate a medical center with the highest standards and best practices. This achievement reaffirms GCAA’s commitment to work closely with the stakeholders to advance the civil aviation industry in UAE and reach its ultimate vision of safer, secure and sustainable aviation system”
The AeMC accreditation is the latest in a number of recent achievements by the Etihad Airways Medical Services team. Earlier this year, Etihad Airways was selected to become the first company in Abu Dhabi with an onsite medical facility to support the visa application process for thousands of employees and their dependents in the UAE. The facility will open later this year following an agreement with Ambulatory Healthcare Services – SEHA.
Other initiatives include the introduction last year of a staff ambulance service and travel clinic for those travelling for work purposes, several free fitness facilities across Abu Dhabi, and a dedicated ‘Care by Etihad Airways’ welfare support service, which is offered to the airline’s crew and pilots and will be extended to all staff and their dependents later this year.
Abu Dhabi based employees also have access to world-class medical care at the Etihad Airways Medical Centre, including full laboratory services, physiotherapy, radiology, dental, nutrition counselling, ENT services, primary care, and aviation health services.
The centre, which is regulated by Health Authority - Abu Dhabi (HAAD) and the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), was awarded the ‘Clinic of the Year 2013’ by GCAA in recognition of its status as one the leading aero-medical centres in the UAE. It is located at Etihad Plaza and staffed by 30 medical experts, including 10 fully-qualified doctors.