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GACA chief calls for realistic domestic fare

JEDDAH: Prince Fahd bin Abdullah, president of the General Authority of Civil Aviation, has urged companies applying for new airline licenses to charge reasonable prices on the Kingdom’s domestic routes.
“It is true that there are some regions in the Kingdom that do not tempt commercial airlines, but we cannot let the market open for everyone to come up with prices higher than what's logical,” he told Arab News.
He was commenting on reports that a number of Gulf companies had withdrawn from bidding for new airline licenses after GACA imposed price ceiling for domestic tickets.
Prince Fahd said more than 700 delegates from 75 countries will attend the Air Services Negotiation Conference (ICAN2012) organized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in cooperation with GACA.
The five-day event that opens at Jeddah Hilton on Friday will witness more than 350 bilateral meetings between countries to conclude aviation agreements.
“About 38 countries have requested negotiations with Saudi Arabia during the conference,” the prince said.
The event website says that this year’s choice of the Kingdom as the conference’s host reflects its leading position in the international air transport industry. “It gives an opportunity for GACA to highlight its efforts for the development of the Kingdom’s air transport sector and its contributions for the progress of civil aviation at global level,” the website added.
ICAN started first in 2003 to keep countries abreast of the latest developments in the aviation sector. It is considered an opportunity for ICAO member states to carry out negotiations between them in one place.
Faisal bin Ahmed Al-Sugair, vice president of GACA, said this is the fifth conference organized by ICAO for bilateral negotiations between countries in the aviation sector. ICAO has 191 member countries.
“Seventy-five countries have agreed to participate in the Jeddah conference,” Al-Sugair said. “Before the conference we’ll celebrate the World Aviation Day on Dec. 7, which is aimed at enhancing public awareness on the importance of civil aviation,” he added.
This conference is primarily organized due to the international trend of the civil aviation sector to consolidate the concept of the common international framework in order to keep up with the rapid developments, Al-Sugair said.
“It is considered an opportunity for the member states to carry out negotiations and talks at the same location, thus saving time and expenses,” he pointed out.
ICAO Air Services Negotiation Conference provides a central location for the participating countries to meet and carry out bilateral or multilateral negotiations at the same location in order to discuss the topics related to aviation services, the vice president said.

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