Riyadh’s ICAN 2023 states aim to keep pace with progress in global air transport

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ICAN2023 which is affiliated with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), opened in Riyadh on Sunday. (Supplied by GACA)
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ICAN2023 which is affiliated with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), opened in Riyadh on Sunday. (Supplied by GACA)
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Updated 04 December 2023

Riyadh’s ICAN 2023 states aim to keep pace with progress in global air transport

  • More than 700 experts and specialists in the aviation industry are attending the event

RIYADH: The 15th International Conference on Air Services Negotiations, which is affiliated with the International Civil Aviation Organization, opened in Riyadh on Sunday with the aim of working to keep pace with rapid developments in the aviation sector.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Transport and Logistics Services Saleh Al-Jasser, who is also chairman of the board of directors at the General Authority of Civil Aviation, opened the conference, which is being hosted by the GACA with the participation of industry leaders, a number of ministers, and heads of civil aviation authorities.

More than 700 experts and specialists in the aviation industry, along with delegations from more than 100 countries and organizations, are also attending the event, which takes place from Dec. 3-7.

Al-Jasser said it was the second time the Kingdom had hosted the conference, which positioned the country among leaders in the field. He also thanked the ICAO for its partnership and support in hosting the event, which is setting a new record for attendance.

He added: “This outstanding participation confirms the importance of the conference and its success in achieving its goals and in advancing the global aviation sector.”

The Kingdom’s efforts in supporting its partners across the world to grow in the transportation and logistics services sector were acknowledged, with special thanks to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Al-Jasser said that the hosting of ICAN 2023 came in light of the unlimited support the air transport sector enjoyed from them.

He added that the Kingdom’s efforts were integrated with the strategy for transport and logistics services, which aimed to connect Saudi Arabia with the rest of the world through a comprehensive, diverse and innovative transport network in accordance with the National Aviation Strategy.

The minister added that the Kingdom was intent on strengthening its cross-border relations, and that the hosting of ICAN 2023 embodied the commitment toward dialogue, and the exchange of experiences and cultures, to work to build a united and cooperative global aviation sector.

He indicated that the agreements and partnerships made at the conference would have a positive effect on the sector.

The opening ceremony announced Malaysia as the ICAN 2024 host and featured cultural performances, in the presence of Al-Jasser, GACA President Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano, and heads of civil aviation authorities from various participating countries.

The GACA president said that the National Aviation Strategy aims to underline the Kingdom’s pioneering role in the field of civil aviation in the Middle East region, by attracting investments worth $100 billion and creating an exceptional travel experience for more than 330 million passengers annually by 2030.

The plan covers airports, airlines, aircraft and air service facilities, including air freight and logistics services, and offers travelers more than 250 destinations through 29 airports, with two global hubs in Riyadh and Jeddah.

This will significantly increase the volume of air freight from 0.8 million tons to 4.5 million tons by 2030, according to the GACA.

Al-Duailej noted that the GACA, as a strategic regulatory body, contributed to preparing the market by providing appropriate regulatory conditions and economic reforms to attract investment and provide growth opportunities throughout the Kingdom.

In addition, this initiative contributed to increasing competitiveness and transparency, providing more options for travelers, while achieving sustainable growth.

The GACA last November issued a new regulation to protect the rights of travelers to ensure that they received care, support and compensation for any difficulties faced on flights.

The GACA president added that the authority was keen to contribute, through its various efforts, to creating a safer and more sustainable global civil aviation system.

The authority would welcome communication, cooperation, and the exchange of experiences with various concerned parties, to build sustainable and advanced aviation systems in the Kingdom and other countries.

Sciacchitano said that the ICAN had succeeded, since its launch in 2008, in hosting more than 5,000 bilateral meetings, which had resulted in the signing of nearly 4,000 agreements and memorandums of cooperation with 160 participating countries.

He added that this year’s edition had attracted more than 95 countries and had more than 700 participants, while expectations were that the number of meetings during the event could exceed 485.

Ministers and heads of civil aviation authorities visited an exhibition which accompanies the conference. It showcases existing and future projects within the sector, and the opportunities offered, including in areas such as air mobility, space, sustainability, and advanced technologies.

The ICAN event, which is the largest of its kind for negotiating and discussing air transport affairs, aims to keep pace with rapid developments in the global air transport industry.

The conference will also witness the establishment of a ceremony to distribute the Facilities Award, hosted by the GACA, and concludes on Dec. 7, International Civil Aviation Day.



Hail deputy governor joins Zubaida Trail for Founding Day

Updated 22 February 2024

Hail deputy governor joins Zubaida Trail for Founding Day

HAIL: Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Muqrin, the deputy governor of Hail region, took part in a Zubaida Trail caravan on Thursday to mark Founding Day celebrations.

The caravan, overseen by the Heritage Commission and organized by the Caravans Trails Association, began its journey from the historic city of Fayd to Sumaira’ Province.

Prince Faisal honored the sponsors and partners, and along with hikers, horseback riders, camel riders and cyclists, took part in the caravan journey.

Along the route, the deputy governor spoke to groups taking part in the event, including Saudis and foreigners in the Kingdom.

Prince Faisal praised the government’s support for the heritage sector, and commended the dedication of all parties involved in the caravan program.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Obeida, general supervisor of the Zubaida Trail, praised the support given to the initiative by the Saudi leadership, as well as the Hail governor and his deputy.

He said that the scheme aims to revitalize the ancient route, which is one of many in Saudi Arabia dating back over 1,000 years.

Al-Obeida highlighted the importance of community involvement in sustaining and developing the trail route for economic, cultural and tourism purposes.

Endangered native animals released in Saudi reserve

Updated 22 February 2024

Endangered native animals released in Saudi reserve

AL-ULA: Fourteen Arabian oryxes and 40 Arabian sand gazelles have been released into the Gharameel nature reserve by the the National Center for Wildlife.

The conservation effort at Gharameel, located 60 km north of AlUla, took place with cooperation from the Royal Commission for AlUla.

The reserve features unique biodiversity throughout its rock and sand formations, and hillsides.

Resettlement of endangered native species is a key target of the center, as well as restoring biodiversity and environmental balance as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

Animal reintroduction also promotes the RCU’s plan to activate six nature reserves while regenerating AlUla as a leading global destination for cultural and natural heritage.

The formations of rocky pillars in the area were created through wind and rain erosion over thousands of years.

AlUla is also a popular stargazing destination for tourists from around the world.

Saudi honeybee program achieves 200% productivity boost

Updated 22 February 2024

Saudi honeybee program achieves 200% productivity boost

RIYADH: The honeybee breeding program — spearheaded by the Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Program “Saudi Reef” in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture — is poised to make a substantial impact on bee populations.

A select group of model beekeepers has achieved an impressive 200 percent increase in productivity by implementing the program.

According to the “Saudi Reef” program, the surge in production is attributed to a strategic focus on expanding queen bee rearing within the breeding and propagation program.

Additionally, the adoption of innovative production techniques and best practices, including hive management and organic beekeeping, has played a key role.

These practices have been documented in a booklet distributed to beekeepers and have yielded significant production boosts in several model farms established by the project.

Expanding on its success, the program plans to roll out projects for “bee queen breeding and nuclei production” across eight centers spanning regions such as Jazan, Najran, Asir, Baha, Makkah, Madinah, Hail and Tabuk.

Each center is expected to produce 5,000 queen bees annually, characterized by purity and high-production specifications.

This will enable beekeepers to expand queen bee breeding and bee colonies while preserving favorable genetic traits for enhanced production and resilience against diseases and environmental factors.

The honeybee development and honey production sector is a key focus of the “Saudi Reef” program. Since its inception, the program has had significant increases in production, enhancing the income and living standards of its beneficiaries.

To increase food security and agricultural self-sufficiency, Saudi Arabia unveiled an ambitious initiative in August last year to produce more than 7,500 tons of honey annually as part of the Saudi Reef.

Makkah expo focuses on next steps for hotel, culinary sectors

Updated 22 February 2024

Makkah expo focuses on next steps for hotel, culinary sectors

  • Saudi employees trained at top schools bringing skills back to the Kingdom

MAKKAH: The Makkah Expo for Hotels and Restaurants, held at the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Exhibition Center, ended on Wednesday evening.

The exhibition’s fifth edition was inaugurated by Vice Chairman of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce Mustafa Rajab and involved officials, business owners and company representatives.

A large number of companies and institutions representing the hotel and culinary sectors, specialized in serving Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and visitors, attended the three-day exhibition, which was held in collaboration with the Unit for Exhibition Organization.

Abdullah Haneef, the acting secretary-general of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce, told Arab News: “The exhibition provided an opportunity to access the best practices in the hotel and restaurant sectors, as it brought together a select group of people specialized in this field in Makkah, a pioneer in the hotel sector field attracting large numbers of visitors from around the world.”

He added that industry officials exchanged business ideas and showcased modern tools and technology, food products and hotel and restaurant supplies, and took part in several accompanying events.

Haneef added: “The exhibition offers an opportunity for investors, interested parties, specialized companies and experts in the hotel and restaurant sector from inside and outside the Kingdom, to display their products to investors and interested individuals and exchange expertise, as well as engage in commercial deals between exhibitors, participants and individuals interested in the hotel and restaurant sector.”

The exhibition also hosted a salon for culinary arts and live cooking demonstrations.

Khalid Al-Ghamdi, an investor in the hotel sector, said that the Saudi industry has begun a strong post-pandemic recovery, and is fulfilling its role in serving visitors.

He added that intensive training programs Saudi employees are undertaking in top international hotel schools are helping them apply their knowledge back in the Kingdom.

Al-Ghamdi said that the restaurant sector is facing significant challenges but also opportunities, including smart digital solutions.

Makkah is one of the most significant and holiest places worldwide, drawing millions of Muslims for religious rituals such as Hajj and Umrah, he added.

The city should therefore focus on enhancing future innovation plans and smart marketing to make the hospitality sector a top performer, through innovative solutions and major investment, he said.

Saudi, French FMs discuss bilateral ties on G20 sidelines

Updated 22 February 2024

Saudi, French FMs discuss bilateral ties on G20 sidelines

  • Ministers reviewed latest regional and international developments, particularly Israel’s war on Gaza

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met on Thursday with his French counterpart Stephane Segournet on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Rio de Janeiro.

They discussed bilateral relations and ways to enhance them in various fields, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

They also reviewed the latest regional and international developments, particularly Israel’s war on Gaza.

The Kingdom’s Ambassador to Brazil Faisal Ghulam and Walid Al-Smail, assistant director general of the Saudi foreign minister’s office, were also present at the meeting.