Internship Report of Serco – Sharjah Airport

Table of Contents
Executive Summary 1
Acknowledgements 1
Introduction 2
Air Traffic Control (ATC) 4
Inspection and Safety 5
The Metrology Office 6
Conclusion 6

Executive Summary

This report is a detailed account of the internship at the Sharjah International Airport where the objective of the internship was to observer the process of operations done by Serco, a management service providing company that handles the operations at the Air Traffic Control. There is an agreement which exists between Serco and the Sharjah Universal Airport to handle and oversee the operations going on in the Air Traffic Control unit in the airport. The majority of communication regarding the operations happen in the briefing room of the airport. This is done through complex machinery like the Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network (AFTN) machine and the Comsoft’s Aeronautical Data Access System which are critical and run in accordance with the Greenwich Mean Time.
During the time spent working at the airport, a detailed knowledge could be obtained about the functioning of the systems like AFTN, CADAS and Copperchase and also recognized the functioning of TAF and METAR transmission. The Inspection and Safety department has detailed inspection procedures which cover each and every aspect of safety into perspective and work incessantly and vigilantly to preserve the safety of the airport and the individuals constantly working and passengers coming and going through the airport. The work at the metrology department showed us how weather and its constant tracking and reporting is important not just for the airport but also for the surrounding areas of the airport.
From an overall view of the experience it can be easily said that it was an opportunity from a lifetime in which a large amount of critical information could be obtained and the importance of the work of airport departments and its staff could be understood. In the period of this this internship with two of my colleagues I gained valuable knowledge about operations in the airport in all the assigned departments.


There are certain opportunities in life which students get that enlighten them on a large scope regarding very crucial activities that happen around us. This internship was one such opportunity where I came across a golden chance to observe the operations in the Sharjah International Airport. I consider myself as a very lucky individual in this ordeal where I happened to learn a lot about my surrounding environment. I am also thankful to meet many extremely talented and hardworking individuals whom I met in my temporary job period.
My deepest appreciation first and foremost goes to Miss Fadva al Maeeni who handles the training office. Despite many obligations, she was able to help me greatly which is am very thankful for. She coordinated us colleagues and introduced us to the insightful people around the place. She had a very unique method of making us work in a peaceful and stress-free environment so that we could perform at our best of abilities.
I am also extremely grateful to the Sharjah International Airport for providing us a very precious and wonderful opportunity where I, as an intern was given a very knowledgeable insight about the activities going on in the airport. The amount of activities and the scope work that goes on in an airport is beyond imagination. The added factor to this is a very high level of responsibility that comes with the sensitive work. I witnessed the work going on in so many different departments whose activities were united to serve so many people. With the time available with my internship I tried to get the most knowledge and experience possible at this remarkable place.
My utmost thanks go to the Abu Dhabi University for imparting a myriad of precious knowledge, because of which I could learn so much from the environment I was working in. Abu Dhabi University is responsible for my all round development in many areas related to my field of education. This experience gave me a lot of motivation to perform endeavors and achieve professionally in the future.

The internship to the Sharjah international Airport began with a visit to the briefing office. The Sharjah International Airport was initially recognized as the Sharjah Airport. The objective of the internship was to observe the work done by Serco in the Sharjah International Airport. Serco started operating in UAE with the Sharjah International Airport in 1960 which was recognized at the time as the Sharjah Airport. Serco is a point of focus, as it handles the operations at the air traffic control tower at the airport. In the briefing office, we met with Mr. Khaled and Miss Nikola who is associated with Serco. This is where the participants of the information were given an insight about the communication of information at the airport. This communication takes place internally in the airport, and also between the airplanes and the airport. The contribution of Serco in the operations and communication of the Sharjah international Airport is to handle the communication of the Airport Control Tower (ATC). Serco is essentially a British Service Providing firm which also handles the operations of Dubai Metro in UAE. (Serco, 2015)
Mr. Khalid taught us how to fill out a flight plan report which is the responsibility of a pilot in command. This report includes information regarding the route of the plane for the specific flight, the identification details of the plane, category of the plane, number of the flight, the time of departure and additional comments about the journey if necessary. The briefing office is where this information is recorded and stored. After the information is duly recorded, the flight has to interact with the Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network (AFTN). The message containing details about departure are sent to the ATC through this network. After due clearance from the Air Traffic Control department, the flight has to depart. (Flight ATM Systems Ltd., 2009)
After the plane departs, the information is transmitted back to the briefing room along with the other stations as the plane becomes the part of the global air traffic. After the message is received, the transmission ends. This message also goes through another network known as Society International Telecommunications Aeronautics (SITA) which transmits the information received regarding flight operations to all the respective addresses in the inbound country. The other types of data that is transmitted about the flight are the details of the passengers and the details regarding loading and movement. The report which is prepared and sent to SITA is the responsibility of the operations.
For accurate coordination with the other networks, the timing at the airport is always aligned with the Greenwitch Mean Time (GMT). There is special machinery located inside the briefing room which smoothens the operations on daily basis. The AFTN machine is purchased on a co-operative basis while the machine called CADAS-ATS which stands for Comsoft’s Aeronautical Data Access System is purchase with the help of Abu Dhabi Government. (Comsoft, 2015)
Air Traffic Control (ATC)

The second phase of our internship was in the air traffic control (ATC) unit which delves in the most difficult and sensitive job of controlling the air traffic. The processes of landing any plane in the airport was described to us with detail. If any plane wishes to land inside the country of UAE, the pilot first has to establish contact with the UAE radar and after doing that, the communication is taken to the airport on which the plane wishes to land. In our case, if the pilot wants to land the plane in the Sharjah Airport, the communication will be diverted to the Sharjah Control tower. After that has been done, it is the job of the ATC unit to provide information to the plane about the current weather and landing availability. After the plane lands, the parking base and taxi clearance are provided to the plane that has arrived on the tarmac. The information about the weather is again provided to the plane during the time of departure. As soon as approval is received the plane receives clearance to depart along with the information about the taxi clearance.
If the flight in question is a local flight which is usually a low flying unit, the plane has to contact the Sharjah Airport Control Tower to receive information about the related factors. ATC utilizes two systems to plan the flights. The CADAS system utilized for flight coordination, while the Copperchase system is used to communicate information about flight plans between airports. While the CADAS system displays outgoing and incoming flights on the monitor, the Copperchase system is used to transmit regular weather information airborne traffic.
One of the most critical systems used by the Airline Traffic Control is the Management Information System (MIS) This system is extremely useful to record flight traffic data regarding the Sharjah Airport. The airfield lighting system is controlled though a system called Safe-Gate. The role of ATC is to provide approach to planes coming into the airport, but in circumstances where the approach is not provided, the incoming planes are diverted to the Dubai International Airport. ATC is like central processing unit of the airline systems as it is contacted for each and every minute piece of information regarding flights. This makes ATC one of the busiest places in the entire airport.
Inspection and Safety

Airport is a place where people from around the world arrive and go for 24 hours a day. This means that a wide and long array of activities are going on in the airport and also that it is a sensitive place due to the amount of people that are constantly occupying the airport. Due to this, there is rigorous inspection going on in the airport. At the beginning of the day, two inspectors who are assigned for the day are supposed to check if their equipment is functioning and will be able to run through the day. The route of their inspection is pre-designed. The inspectors are constantly on their toes guaranteeing the safety of the environment and the individuals around it. In a particular occasion during the intern observation, a garbage truck was found to have its contents stored in an unsafe manner and the driver was found to be sitting in a risky position. During this incident, the inspector gave the driver assigned to the vehicle a verbal warning and informed him that the next time such incident was observed, he will be penalized. This made us realize that the work of the inspectors was to keep the people working at the airport in an alert state for their own safety.
The inspectors are also assigned the role of observing the airport area for foreign objects and any damage to the facility or planes which is found on observation. If any such thing is come into observation, the respected authorities are contacted immediately for solving the problem. This also means that the inspectors are supposed to have a report of any such incidents discovered on site and for documenting this information they click photos too. The areas like hangars, surrounding fences, and the tarmac are constantly under observation by the inspectors. Another noticeable thing is that for any permission related to routes, the inspectors have to consult ATC staff for approval as any activity around the runway does not happen without their approval.
The next area of observation for the inspection staff is the food court which is canned sharply by the inspectors. This activity is to be done very precisely as everything is the area is to be observed with care and caution. Another standing rule is that metal objects are strictly not allowed in the food court. If any objects are permitted in the area they are required to have a proper identification number for safety and tracking. At the end of routine, the inspectors are supposed to prepare a report.
When the internship involved the inspection and safety department, the manager used to conduct safety drills during our tenure in the department through emergency checks. This was also done to analyze the cooperation with the fire department during the emergency situations. The time in the inspection department gave interns the chance to be at a meeting being conducted between a representative from Emirates airline and the manager of the inspection and safety department. The role of safety and inspection is not limited to the safety of the airport but also the safety of the employees in the airport, the people in the airport, and the travelers in the planes.
The Metrology Office

The office of the metrology department that is situated in the Sharjah International Airport is the first metrology office that was built in United Arab Emirates. The year in which this office was established is 1932. The metrology office in the airport is assigned the responsibility of giving the information regarding the weather on a regular basis. The weather reports are sourced from either both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The weather information is obtained from timely terminal aerodrome forecasts (TAF) which give information in the METAR format. Each TAF is received every six hours and a METAR formatted data is sent after every half hour. The weather details are reviewed every month through the records that are sent to both of the major cities. If there are any weather related calamities (i.e. sandstorms) arising then it reports to all its surrounding buildings and also sends a global forecast. (Saberi, 2004)
The METAR systems provide crucial weather information in the form of visual and aero weather which is a subsystem that provides data in case the other weather systems crash. This system also provides data regarding wind pressure, direction and about any approaching calamities affecting the airport or its planes. The pilot pays regular visits to the metrology office and engages in discussion about the weather report and related factors affecting upcoming flights. The metrology office is also utilized by homeland courts for collecting data regarding cases of weather incidents. These cases are associated with many departments of work like construction or oil drilling. The work in the metrology office goes on in shifts on a very regular basis. The work that goes on is extremely important but the work pressure is absent due to its reliance on digital systems and transmission.

The duration of internship and the experiences conceived in that period of time proved to be extremely valuable in nature from a professional and academic viewpoint. The activities performed by many department and the array of operations made the understanding of the complete mechanism very clear. In the entry level position at the Sharjah International Airport, we came across many roles and responsibilities in the respective departments. The work at the ATC provided us with a very critical insight into the activities of an airport. The period of time in the inspection and safety department taught us the value of airport safety and how the management works day and night to sustain it. The work performed in the metrology displayed us the significance of weather at a local and global level.
There is constant undergoing research in process to keep the environment in and around the terminal safe and secure. This is extremely important as there is constant activity going on for 24 hours a day in the airport and we witnessed how the staff works hard to maintain safety, balance and a smooth and constant flow of activities running all throughout the day and night. All the activities surrounding the airport gave us a detailed insight into the detailed and complex operations which are constantly going on in the airport.
Comsoft. (2015). CADAS-ATS Air Traffic Services. Retrieved 4 5, 2015, from
Flight ATM Systems Ltd. (2009). AFTN Terminal User Manual. London: Flight ATM Systems Ltd.
Saberi, M. (2004, 3 5). Insight: Sharjah Met Office: Keeping tabs on the vagaries of weather. Retrieved from
Serco. (2015). About Us. Retrieved from


Posted on

March 8, 2018

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.