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

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.


King Salman urges Iran to junk its expansionist ideology

Updated 21 November 2019

King Salman urges Iran to junk its expansionist ideology

  • Saudi Arabia has suffered from the policies and practices of the Iranian regime and its proxies, king says
  • Kingdom also welcomed US decision to return Iran's Fordow nuclear facility to its sanctions list

RIYADH: Iran should abandon its expansionist ideology that has only “harmed” its own people, Saudi Arabia's King Salman said on Wednesday, following violent street protests in the Islamic republic.

A wave of demonstrations erupted in the sanctions-hit country on Friday after an announcement that petrol prices would be raised by as much as 200 percent with immediate effect.

“We hope the Iranian regime chooses the side of wisdom and realizes there is no way to overcome the international position that rejects its practices, without abandoning its expansionist and destructive thinking that has harmed its own people,” the king told the consultative Shoura Council.

“The kingdom has suffered from the policies and practices of the Iranian regime and its proxies,” King Salman said, quoted by the foreign ministry, reiterating that Riyadh does not seek war but is “ready to defend its people.”

A satellite image from Sept. 15, 2017, of the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran. (Google Earth)

Saudi Arabia has welcomed Washington's decision to return the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran to the sanctions list. 

Washington said on Monday that it will no longer waive sanctions related to Iran’s Fordow nuclear plant after Tehran resumed uranium enrichment at the underground site. 

“The right amount of uranium enrichment for the world’s largest state sponsor of terror is zero ... There is no legitimate reason for Iran to resume enrichment at this previously clandestine site,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters earlier this week.