Saudi civil aviation authority starts issuing drone permits

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Recreational operator permits are for personal recreational use and no examination is required. (AN photo by Essam Al-Ghalib)
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Drone flying permit.
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Recreational operator permits are for personal recreational use and no examination is required. (AN photo by Essam Al-Ghalib)
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Recreational operator permits are for personal recreational use and no examination is required. (AN photo by Essam Al-Ghalib)
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Recreational operator permits are for personal recreational use and no examination is required. AN photo by Essam Al-Ghalib)
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In this file photo taken on May 16, 2018 a drone equiped with a photo camera is pictured during a training session of the 17th Parachute Engineer Regiment of Montauban in a forest of the Tarn et Garonne, near Montauban. (AFP)
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An unmanned Air Taxi EHANG 216 takes off during a press preview of FACC AG on "Urban Air Mobility" at Generali Arena in Vienna, Austria on April 4, 2019. (AFP)
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In this Aug. 30, 2017 photo, Laura Shell, center, a Travelers catastrophe claims specialist from Lexington, Va., trains to become a certified drone operator at the insurance company's Windsor, Conn., training center. (AP)
Updated 15 April 2019
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Saudi civil aviation authority starts issuing drone permits

  • Recreational operator permits are for personal recreational use and no examination is required
  • First-time applicants for commercial drone permits are required to submit a copy of their passport and identification card, pay a SR500 examination and licensing fee and take a 60-question test

RIYADH: The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has begun handing out commercial and recreational drone operator permits in the Kingdom.
People who applied for a permit during the past four months started receiving their permits or scheduled examination dates this week.
An Arab News journalist applied for a recreational permit in January, supplied the identification document and paid the SR250 ($67) fee for a two-year permit. It arrived earlier this week.
A GACA licensing and examination agent explained that the delay was due to linking the GACA system with the Presidency of State Security in order to carry out background checks on applicants.
“It takes up to a couple of months to get the security clearance,” the agent told Arab News. “More than 90 percent of applicants pass the security check.” The recreational permit states that the operator must not fly the drone within eight kilometers of an aerodrome, helipad, or any piloted manned aircraft, industrial sites, military bases, royal palaces or private properties, except if approved by GACA.
Recreational operator permits are for personal recreational use and no examination is required. Such permits are for non-industrial and non-commercial drones.
First-time applicants for commercial drone permits are required to submit a copy of their passport and identification card, pay a SR500 examination and licensing fee and take a 60-question test.
The test requires familiarity with airport approach and air traffic control protocols, among other things.
GACA also mandates the registration of any drone to be flown in the Kingdom. The process requires a copy of personal identification and the make, model, serial number and weight of the drone.
People wishing to import drones into the country must have an operator’s permit and the drone’s serial number. They must register it through the GACA website and, through GACA, receive an import certificate.
However, according to the GACA licensing agent who spoke to Arab News, drones will be on sale in the Kingdom “very, very soon.”
“GACA is preparing itself for drones to become an industry here in the Kingdom. There are many uses for drones and we recognize that.”
Later this month Riyadh will host a drone summit and expo. It will be divided into four sessions. The first deals with changing regulations and legislation to foster innovation. The second will focus on how to incorporate drone technology into national security strategies. The third is dedicated to the industry’s general global outlook and, finally, the fourth session will highlight progress in the local industry.


Forum aims to boost Saudi-Japan trade ties

Updated 18 June 2019
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Forum aims to boost Saudi-Japan trade ties

  • Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners

TOKYO: More than 300 government, investment and industry leaders on Monday took part in a high-level gathering aimed at further boosting business opportunities between Saudi Arabia and Japan.

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) welcomed key figures from the public and private sectors to the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum, held in Tokyo.

Hosted in partnership with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the conference focused on the creation of investment opportunities in strategic sectors of the Kingdom. Delegates also discussed key reforms currently underway to enable easier market access for foreign companies.

Speaking at the event, Saudi Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, said: “Today’s forum is a testimony to the success of the strategic direction set by the Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030 two years ago, which seeks to drive private-sector involvement, both by partnering with public-sector entities.”

SAGIA Gov. Ibrahim Al-Omar said: “At SAGIA, we have been working on creating a more attractive and favorable business environment in Saudi Arabia, which is making it easier for foreign companies to access opportunities in the Kingdom.”

Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners. It is the Kingdom’s second-largest source of foreign capital and third-biggest trading partner, with total trade exceeding $39 billion.

JETRO president, Yasushi Akahoshi, said: “Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 has made great progress since it was first announced. Under this strategic initiative, the number of cooperative projects between our two countries has nearly doubled, from 31 to 61, and represents a diverse range of sectors and stakeholders.”

Since 2016, the Saudi government has delivered 45 percent of more than 500 planned reforms, including the introduction of 100 percent foreign ownership rights, enhancing legal infrastructure and offering greater protection for shareholders.

As a result, the Kingdom has climbed international competitiveness and ease-of-doing-business rankings, with foreign direct investment inflows increasing by 127 percent in 2018 and the number of new companies entering Saudi Arabia rising by 70 percent on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter of 2019.