Riyadh To Reform Aviation Sector

Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistics Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser revealed that the kingdom will enhance its investments in the transport and logistics sector by more than 100 billion U.S. dollars.

Saudi Arabia’s authority of civil aviation announced Monday its initiative to prepare a framework that would make international traveling easier. The initiative aims to unify procedures to ease work associated with international travel through establishing one digital source that provides the latest information and developments, and identifies the entry requirements for all participating countries, according to the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) of Saudi Arabia.

The initiative was highlighted during the opening of the three-day Future Aviation Forum, which is organized by GACA.

GACA President Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Duailej noted that the pandemic has revealed the low level of coordination among countries.

At the forum, Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistics Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser revealed that the kingdom will enhance its investments in the transport and logistics sector by more than 100 billion U.S. dollars.

It also seeks to transport over 300 million passengers and five million tons of goods and connect with 250 destinations around the world by 2030, he said.

A total of 60 countries with over 2,000 participants are participating in the forum.

New Airlines

Speaking in the event in Riyadh, minister Nasser Al-Jasser also talked of the Kingdom’s “great aviation reform” which is aimed at turning the nation into the Middle East’s hub for the sector, Arab News reported.

He added that the Saudi Arabian government has ambitious plans to launch a new national carrier which it hopes could emerge as one of the best in the world in the coming years.

“We will also launch an additional national carrier to be among the world’s best airlines and we will upgrade all our facilities, infrastructure, and airports led by our hubs namely Riyadh and Jeddah,” said Al-Jasser.

He went on to say that the Kingdom aims to host 300 million passengers, and five million tons of freight reaching 250 destinations by 2030.

Reflecting on the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, Al-Jasser described the aviation industry as being at a “crossroads”, with short term challenges including  energy prices, sustainably, growth, and competitiveness.

The pandemic also broke procedures that had been tested for many years, he argued.

Al-Jasser’s ambitions were echoed by Raid Ismael, co-head of Middle East and North Africa direct investment at Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

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Ismael said aviation was a key sector that PIF is focused on as part of its strategy is to become an enabler to execute the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

 “From a commercial aviation perspective, there are lots of opportunities when it comes to the new carrier within Riyadh,” said Mr Ismael.  “The most important is the ecosystem that is around it. To have a solid ecosystem and a multiplier effect, to make sure we drive that into a leading hub within the region.”

Ismael added that the country has launched a helicopter company to enable tourism in the Giga projects — NEOM, The Red Sea Project and Amaala.

Talking about the vitality of the Future Aviation Forum, the minister added: “Through this forum, we can establish a strong global voice to contribute to the global wellbeing, sustainability and prosperity, and if we are successful, and I believe we will be, today will mark the start of a golden era for aviation.”

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