Expo puts spotlight on $147bn Saudi airport development projects

Leading regional officials and global aviation experts at the inaugural Saudi Airport Exhibition are putting spotlight on the kingdom's agenda for growth that will see $147 billion expansion work on the air transport sector and upgrades of 29 airports in the country to cater to a total of 330 million travellers by 2030.


Along with bringing the newest technology and innovative products from over 50 countries to Riyadh, the exhibition hosted a summit of regional officials and global experts at Al Faisaliah Hotel, Riyadh to debate ways the Arabian Peninsula's most populous country could fast climb up the success ladder, said the  organisers, Niche Ideas, a UK-based event management company.


The Future Airport Development and Investment Summit is being attended over two days by more than 500 participants who are discussing the role of the aviation industry in supporting Saudi Vision 2030; aviation sustainability and rebuilding the aviation industry post-pandemic.


The experts also focussed on future airport planning; passenger-centric thinking for the airports of tomorrow; digital innovation; developing Sustainable ATM systems; Airport Security in the Age of Digital Disruption and building a talent pool of Saudi professionals to accelerate aviation growth. 


According to experts, a record $100 billion investment in the aviation sector has been scheduled by 2030 to connect its airlines to 250 destinations and handle 4.5 million tonnes of air cargo.


Professor (Dr) Dewakar Goel, Chairman of the Aero Academy of Aviation Science and Management, moderated the summit proceedings. 


Dr Azzam M Qari, CEO of Arabian Petroleum Supply Company (APSCO) spoke about the sustainability in aviation fueling and Saudi Green Initiative stating that sustainability will be the greatest challenge of the 21st century. 


"APSCO is fully dedicated to helping achieve the sustainability objective. As a dedicated supporter and advocate of sustainability, and in line with collaborative efforts with the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), the KSA has aimed to become more sustainable by setting the target of being Net Zero by 2060," noted Qari. 


"In line with this objective, key changes have been laid out to ensure APSCO meets the objective, including equipping roof-top areas with solar panels and determining the optimal charging plan for E-trucks based on operation load to ensure continuity of operations," he added. 


Yahya Al Hammadi, CEO of Global Air Navigation Services (GANS), a certified Air Navigation Services provider that delivered services in 20 countries including eight Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, addressed the gathering about the role of Air Traffic Control in fulfilling the aviation vision. 


Post-pandemic, the aviation industry has moved away from recovery to the developing phase and is rapidly opening up for unprecedented growth in the coming time, he noted.


The air navigation services provider and other key players are working towards increasing the capacity, adopting the latest innovations, focusing on sustainably, meeting climate targets and providing critical safety in an increasingly disruptive aviation environment, stated Al Hammadi. 


Wider cooperation and liberalisation will hold the keys to a brighter future of aviation, he added. 


A panel discussion on the role of the private sector in boosting aviation growth in the kingdom had been moderated by Kashif Khalid, IATA’s Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa. 


The panelists included Mohammed Al Binfalah, CEO of Bahrain Airport Company and TG Mason, Development and Operations Director of Aviation KSA at Egis.


Making an opening remark, Binfalah said the Arabian Gulf region should look at the PPP model for future aviation growth initiatives. 


"Saudi Arabia is in midst of taking up a massive airports development programme and strongly advocates the private sector's role, both as a contributor towards achieving objectives and as a beneficiary of the economic benefits that aviation growth will bring," he stated. 


The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has already undertaken several successful private-sector collaborations, including the transfer of airport ownership to a private company, privatizing operations and maintenance and a build, transfer, and operate (BTO) system, he added. 


During the discussion, the panelists debated various expansion and development models in other parts of the world that can be introduced. 


They also shared case studies on public-private sector collaboration to argue the best models for the sustainable growth of aviation in the Arab world.-TradeArabia News Service


Source: https://www.gdnonline.com/Details/1147057/Expo-puts-spotlight-on-$147bn-Saudi-airport-development-projects


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