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Thu 16 Jun 2016 02:28 PM

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Saudi civil aviation authority 'to become independent body'

GACA will have power to award licences as kingdom seeks to privatise sector

Saudi civil aviation authority 'to become independent body'
Photo for illustrative purpose only. (Getty Images)

Ministers in Saudi Arabia this week approved plans to establish the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) as an independent legislative body with the power to directly grant licences to new airlines and otherwise incentivise air travel.

Resolutions to separate GACA from Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Defense and Aviation and link it directly to the Council of Ministers were first issued in 2011, followed by the issuance of a comprehensive strategy to boost the kingdom’s aviation sector in 2012. 

But until now, a further authoritative decision on the GACA’s future had not been taken.

Saudi Gazette reported that the Council of Ministers on Monday approved an updated resolution to separate out GACA both from the ministry and from the board of directors of national carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), and hand it new powers as an independent body.

Transport minister Suliman Alhamdan was quoted as saying that the move would serve the air transport sector in Saudi Arabia and help GACA achieve an objective standing between all the carriers.

Ultimately, he said, the decision would help the kingdom achieve a global leadership position in the aviation sector. 

GACA has in past months adopted several laws and regulations to strengthen its supervisory legislative role, Saudi Gazette reported, without disclosing further details.

Alhamdan said: “This will no doubt help in reaching the aspirations of our wise leadership and to reach a level of satisfactions to the people of this country of the service rendered to them in the air transport sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

The newspaper did not say when the process would be completed.

Saudi Arabia has commenced a strategy to privatise all 27 airports in Saudi Arabia and open up the market to new airlines. It was reported this week that a new domestic carrier, SaudiGulf, would commence operations on June 22.

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ASIF AHMED 3 years ago

GOOD move to have commercial aviation independent...