Over the past 30 years Saudi Prince Fahd Bin Abdullah, former president of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) and chairman of Saudi Arabian Airlines, has been at the forefront of Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation development.
In appreciation of his efforts, contribution and major role in this sector’s growth and development during that period, GACA and Saudia honored Prince Fahd in the presence of Crown Prince Muqrin Bin Abdul Aziz, Makkah Emir Prince Khaled Al-Faisal and a large number of Saudi officials and public figures.
In his opening speech, newly appointed GACA head Sulaiman Bin Abdullah Al-Hamdan praised Prince Fahad Bin Abdullah for his achievements that brought Saudi aviation to the highest level.
He said: “The Kingdom is becoming the center of attraction to visitors and travelers from all over the world and Prince Fahd Bin Abdullah has helped in driving the development of the aviation industry.
“This industry is no doubt one of the major economic drivers capable of attracting capital and investments and it employs thousands of people both directly and indirectly.”
Al-Hamdan added that Prince Fahd has exerted all his efforts to implement strategies and programs to make this industry a success. “He ensured a sufficient number of flights are provided and met the increasing demand for travel by granting more licenses and incentives to air carriers for serving domestic airports.
“He also improved GACA’s organizational chart and financial system while expanding and upgrading airport infrastructure and the air navigation system.”
He announced that the demand for air transport was booming and expected to double from 30 million to 60 million flights by 2030.
Later, a documentary film revealed Prince Fahd’s accomplishments since he was appointed director of operations at the headquarters of the Royal Saudi Air Force in 1975 and then in 1984 as assistant minister of defense and aviation for civil aviation affairs.
This was followed by the speech of Saleh Bin Nasser Al-Jasser, general manager of Saudi Arabian Airlines, who said Saudi aviation has achieved growth and development under the leadership of Prince Fahd.
“The 30-year era of Prince Fahd has been one of the most important periods in the history of the Saudi aviation, a time of tremendous socioeconomic development and the country’s emergence as a leading force in the region and the world.”
He said the private aviation sector is growing in line with the overall economic growth of the Kingdom.
Under Prince Fahd’s leadership, said Al-Jasser, Saudia has allocated approximately 70 percent of its flights to the domestic service sector, upgraded the fleet to include 90 new Boeing and Airbus aircraft and strengthened the airlines in the international sector by providing flights to 56 international hubs and sometimes 100 during peak seasons.
He noted that these developments have allowed Saudia to become a part of SkyTeam.
“Due to the leadership of Prince Fahd, more Saudi youth are being trained as flight attendants and ground crews to fill up increasing job opportunities in the aviation sector.”
Commenting on the progress of ongoing airport projects, Al-Jasser said GACA is working on developing new airports and upgrading existing ones so they can deal with the increasing numbers of passengers.
He announced that when all expansion projects are completed, Saudi Arabian airports are expected to have a combined capacity of over 100 million travelers.
Prince Fahd thanked Prince Muqrin for attending the event despite his busy schedule.
He said: “I am very proud to follow the steps of the late Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz who taught me so many things and hope that I met the expectations of the government of Saudi Arabia during my working years in the Saudi aviation sector.”
Prince Fahd also expressed his appreciation to the late King Abdulah for the support he received in order to develop the Saudi aviation sector. “All of the achievements that occurred during my era did not happen through my personal effort because there were so many people who contributed heavily to make these goals come true.”
On the sidelines of the event, Prince Muqrin inaugurated an exhibition that highlighted the different stages of Prince Fahad Bin Abdullah’s tenure as president of GACA.SHOW MORE