Princess Astrid lauds interfaith initiative of King Abdullah

Updated 20 May 2014
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Princess Astrid lauds interfaith initiative of King Abdullah

Princess Astrid of Belgium has lauded the efforts of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah in promoting dialogue between religions and civilizations.
“We hold the initiatives taken by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to promote dialogue between religions and civilizations in high esteem,” she said during a special reception hosted by the Belgian Embassy on Sunday night.
The princess also noted the growing relations between her country and Saudi Arabia in the fields of small and medium-sized enterprises, technology transfer, trade and investment.
“We equally value the king’s efforts in developing the country’s human potential in different fields, including social advancement and employment for women,” she said.
Saudi investment in Belgium is on the rise, she said.
“The economic mission, which was headed by my father, King Albert, and my brother, King Philip, had been welcomed here with great warmth and generosity in the past,” said the princess. “Many Belgian companies are already present in the Saudi market and are happy to be operating here.”
“I personally have retained fond memories of your rich culture and history,” she said. “To our business community, Saudi Arabia has become a trusted partner in many fields and projects.”
“It is also a privilege to be able to enjoy this dinner at the elegant residence of our ambassador to the Kingdom, which blends Belgian architecture with local architecture and traditions. This marks the perfect starting point of our economic mission to Saudi Arabia,” she said.
“This is not my first visit to Saudi Arabia. I had previously been afforded the opportunity to meet many Saudis from all walks of life,” she said. “This time, I am here in a different capacity as the head of the economic mission and I am very happy to be back.”
The delegation consists of some 170 companies and 350 business representatives who have registered to be part of the mission.
“Our delegation will move on to other cities in coming days, such as Jubail and Jeddah,” she said. “I was asked by King Philip to represent him during this mission and to be leader of this mission comprising a large group of representatives of Belgian companies, about 50 of whom are businesswomen.”
“Our big corporations were well represented, but we have also growing interest from our small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for the Saudi market,” she said. She said the delegation represents a wide variety of sectors, ranging from energy to environment, logistics and health care to sport infrastructure, banking and services.


New technologies help increase number of flights, passengers in Saudi Arabia’s airports — GACA

Updated 24 March 2019
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New technologies help increase number of flights, passengers in Saudi Arabia’s airports — GACA

  • More than 99.86 million passengers departed or arrived through 771,828 flights in the Kingdom's international and domestic airports in 2018
  • GACA is due to host Global Aviation Summit 2019 on April 1 and 2 in Riyadh

JEDDAH: New technologies applied in Saudi Arabia's airports has contributed to aviation growth in the Kingdom and has provided solutions for passenger’s trips, air cargo and investments, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has said.

GACA earlier reported an 8 percent increase in passenger numbers and 4 percent in flight rates in 2018.

It said more than 99.86 million passengers departed or arrived through 771,828 flights in the Kingdom's international and domestic airports in 2018, compared to 92.42 million passengers on board 741,293 flights in 2017.

"The GACA is keen to adopt plans to develop the Kingdom's airports network in order to keep pace with the steady increase in air traffic, increase the reliability of services, maximize geographic coverage and enhance the contribution of the airports to the overall economic growth of the country," it said.

For example, it said, GACA provides information through technology to reduce paperwork, operating costs and streamline business processes while reducing time to address them.

Most prominent among these e-services is the “Self-Services at the Kingdom's airports” that include check-in kiosks that provide boarding passes and luggage identification cards and self-service baggage drops that allows passengers to self-check their luggage.

It also provides self-scanning devices for bags in the arrival halls, ensuring that all baggage and other cargo arrive at the airport through the installation of electronic gates for the passage of freight vehicles before being emptied into the luggage compartment. 

Electronic gates and document scanning machines ensure that a traveler's information is correct and that boarding passes, passports, national identity and residency are valid.

Other services include airport operations systems and flight information display for some domestic airports.

To ensure accuracy in the flight schedules, GACA said it is working on a project to link the Saudi Arabian Airlines traffic management system to the Airport Management System, of which 50 percent has been completed.

GACA is due to host Global Aviation Summit 2019 on April 1 and 2 in Riyadh to review the infrastructure projects for airports and smart airports, the available opportunities to operate the airports and provide advanced services and consultations in civil aviation, among others.