Only company taxis to pick up passengers at airports

Updated 20 October 2014

Only company taxis to pick up passengers at airports

The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has banned individual Saudi taxi drivers from operating at the Kingdom’s airports from Oct. 24 to make for a revamped airport transport system.
More than 1,500 drivers, of whom nearly 360 work at Dammam’s King Fahd International Airport (KFIA), now face unemployment in the wake of this decision.
Taxi drivers had received an official letter from the authority saying that their contracts would end after more than 11 months of verbal notice that their licenses would not be renewed.
Taxis will henceforth operate with several companies under one umbrella, which will provide a uniform standard of modern, air-conditioned vehicles and adhere to safety requirements, as well as introduce a unified dress code for drivers, according to Khalid Al-Khaibari, GACA spokesman. “The decision has been taken in a bid to organize and raise the standards of airport transport services,” read the letter.
“It will also eliminate vehicle crowding at the airport entrance since customers will now have to request taxi services at a specific counter,” he said. The decision will eventually be implemented across all of the Kingdom’s international airports, according to Al-Khaibari.
“Unifying standards will drastically improve quality of services,” he said. “Some existent taxis might be subsumed under these companies.”
An official at one international airport, who did not want to be identified, said the decision was taken after receiving countless complaints of extortion, lack of professionalism and rudeness. “This is why GACA has taken this decision,” he said.
Several drivers, many of whom have worked in the field for more than three decades, told Arab News that their income would be badly hit by the decision, which they described as unfair.
“Countless Saudi cab drivers have more than 25 years of experience on the road,” one driver said. “Some had even fallen victim to traffic accidents trying to earn a decent living for their families.”
“The decision has come down on us like a ton of bricks,” said Yasir Ali, another driver. “We have less than a week to get our lives in order.”
The drivers intend to submit complaints to Eastern Province authorities after they say GACA ignored their demands. “More than 150 expat drivers who work for the same company are still operating at the airport,” said Abdulrahman Majed, a taxi driver who has been working for the airport for a decade.


Six Flags: “We will break records for the fastest, biggest and longest rides.”

Updated 11 min 45 sec ago

Six Flags: “We will break records for the fastest, biggest and longest rides.”

  • Speaking at the Misk Global Forum, Centola said the efforts made for Qiddiyah would make it the city of the future
  • The Oscar-winner and mind behind the “Born a King” biopic of King Faisal explained that the story of the Saudi monarch was a great external promotion for the Kingdom

RIYADH: Mario Centola, the vice president of international operations and business development at Six Flags Entertainment, said government support for Qiddiyah was facilitating expansion that would help the company attract tourists and business to Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at the Misk Global Forum, Centola stated his firm was aiming to build “the biggest, fastest, longest, steepest roller coaster by far in the world ... you will only get to experience that type of ride and this type of park right outside Riyadh.”

He explained during his participation in a session at the forum, entitled “Entertainment is serious business,” that the efforts made for Qiddiyah would make it the city of the future, pointing out that the latest technology would be in every part of the city.

He mentioned how innovation in the Kingdom was creating great job opportunities, especially in the field of entertainment, and he called on Saudis to seize the opportunities ahead of them.

Also speaking, the Spanish producer and CEO of Lola Films, Andrés Gomes, pointed out that his relationship with Saudi Arabia began 10 years ago.

The Oscar-winner and mind behind the “Born a King” biopic of King Faisal explained that the story of the Saudi monarch was a great external promotion for the Kingdom, given its international storyline, with 70 percent of its events taking place in the UK.

“We have to make films that people like … Saudi Arabia should be very careful to not be invaded by foreign cultures for your movies and TV,” he said.

“Of course, you have not had the time to develop your own productions, but that’s what you have to ask your government for — you have to ask for support.”

Shinji Shimizu, senior director and producer at Toei Animation, talked about his own first visit to Saudi Arabia a decade ago, and his vision of the interest of young Saudis in Japanese animators.

“Animation was established 63 years ago. I had been working with the company for 42 years … Japanese animation was gradually enjoyed by young people, by lots of people.

“Young people are very talented and they absorb very quickly, and they want to express Saudi culture. We are working with a Japanese crew and we are having a tremendously enjoyable time together.”

Alabbas Bin Alabbas, the founder of Alsahar Animation, stressed the importance of this period for the Saudi people, as the country opens up to entertainment and the arts, stressing the importance of animation as a magnet for children, in addition to the great energy that exists among young people encouraged and supported by the government.

“I think now it’s our turn to contribute to the world, to show who we are, what our stories are,” he said.