Interview with the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA)
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- What will you be bringing to Dubai Airshow 2021?
The participation of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) at Dubai Airshow this year coincides with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s (KSA) launch of the National Strategy for Transport and Logistics Services and the Civil Aviation Strategy. Dubai Airshow will have a major impact on shaping the civil aviation industry in the Kingdom, as well as enhancing aviation in the region and the world. Our participation at Dubai Airshow gives us the opportunity to highlight the Kingdom’s strategies and latest expansion plans, as well as meet with investors, aerospace manufacturers, and aviation experts.
GACA is always keen to participate in such events to highlight and introduce its new and upcoming projects in building, developing and modernizing airports in the Kingdom, its most significant investments, and the most recent developments of the civil aviation sector in the Kingdom.
GACA takes part in such events with a pavilion that includes images, models and technologies about the latest development and construction projects in the Kingdom. It also presents information, figures and statistics, which highlight the efforts of GACA in the air transport industry and the development of airports in the Kingdom, which make up around 29 airports in total.
- What are you expecting from Dubai Airshow 2021?
GACA is keen to participate in Dubai Airshow and engage with key stakeholders, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. These events are important for supporting the aviation industry, discussing the challenges that have been tackled, and focusing on the current situation and the requirements to ensure the industry’s recovery. Dubai Airshow will be the first major event of its kind since the start of the pandemic and it is a significant opportunity to learn the lessons from the crisis and plan for future recovery and growth.
- How did COVID-19 impact the defense industry?
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the aviation sector, due to the travel restrictions that have been imposed and the decline in demand to travel, but we have taken a series of measures, decisions and initiatives that contribute to overcoming the challenges we have faced. With God’s blessings and our wise leadership’s vision, the impact of the pandemic was minimized through taking the required precautionary measures to combat the spread of the virus and tackling the challenges faced in the aviation sector. The Kingdom has put its people’s health at the forefront of its priorities.
GACA worked on a set of initiatives and launched several programs, which included providing an extension of the validity periods of licenses and certificates for aircrew, trainers and evacuees. GACA has also allowed the use of some of the passenger aircraft cabins in cargo operations to support the supply chains of medicines, medical and food supplies. In addition, the Authority launched an operations guideline, which played a key role in the resumption of flights within the Kingdom, as well as a guide for travelers with a set of precautionary measures and additional procedures.
- What are the future prospects of the defense industry?
The contribution of the aviation sector to the post-oil national economy in KSA is progressing at an accelerated and steady pace. The industry has had increased contribution to the Kingdom’s GDP following the achievements that the country has made in the aviation sector in recent years. Aviation is one of the main strategic industries included in the government plans, which seek to build a strong and sustainable economy based on economic diversification and building a post-oil, knowledge-based economy.