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.


Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

Updated 23 April 2019
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Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

  • Mohamed Jafar and Hany Osman, cabin crew with Saudi Arabian Airlines, were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels targeted
  • Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi says officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests

COLOMBO: Two Saudis were among 31 foreigners killed in a string of Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said on Monday, a day after the devastating attacks on hotels and churches killed at least 290 people and wounded nearly 500.

The extent of the carnage began to emerge as information from government officials, relatives and media reports offered the first details of those who had died. Citizens from at least eight countries, including the United States, were killed, officials said.

Among them were Saudis Mohammed Jafar and Hany Osman. They worked as cabin crew on Saudi Arabian Airlines, and were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels that were hit.

Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi said that officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests on the two Saudi victims, and only after these are received will their names be confirmed.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said the Sri Lankan government believes the vast scale of the attacks, which clearly targeted the minority Christian community and outsiders, suggested the involvement of an international terrorism network.

“We don’t think a small organization can do all that,” he said. “We are now investigating international support for them and their other links — how they produced the suicide bombers and bombs like this.”

The attacks mostly took place during church services or when hotel guests were sitting down to breakfast. In addition to the two Saudis, officials said the foreign victims included one person from Bangladesh, two from China, eight from India, one from France, one from Japan, one from The Netherlands, one from Portugal, one from Spain, two from Turkey, six from the UK, two people with US and UK dual nationalities, and two with Australian and Sri Lankan dual nationalities.

Three of Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen’s four children were among the foreigners who were killed, a spokesman for the family confirmed. Povlsen is the wealthiest man in Denmark, the largest landowner in Scotland and owns the largest share of British online fashion and cosmetics retailer Asos.

Two Turkish engineers working on a project in Sri Lanka also died in the attacks, the English-language Daily Sabah newspaper reported. Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu gave their names as Serhan Selcuk Narici and Yigit Ali Cavus.

Fourteen foreign nationals remain unaccounted for, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said, adding that they might be among unidentified victims at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer’s morgue.

Seventeen foreigners injured in the attacks were still being treated at the Colombo National Hospital and a private hospital in the city, while others had been discharged after treatment.