RIYADH: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has signed an agreement with the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) to establish an office in Riyadh.
The trade association told Arab News: “The IATA is strengthening its presence in Saudi Arabia by establishing a new office in the Kingdom. The IATA’s regional office (regional headquarters) remains in Jordan, Amman.
“The IATA is committed to supporting the development of aviation in Saudi Arabia and contributing toward realizing the vision of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to turn the Kingdom into a global aviation hub over the coming years.”
The deal was inked by GACA president, Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al-Duailej, and the IATA’s vice president for the Africa and Middle East region, Kamel Hassan Al-Awadi.
Al-Duailej noted the importance of bolstering effective joint cooperation between international and regional organizations in the civil aviation industry, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.
The IATA’s membership consists of around 290 global airlines, representing 82 percent of global air traffic.
According to the association’s latest industry figures released in June, total global demand for air travel in April was down 65.4 percent year-on-year. In the Middle East, which depends heavily on international traffic, airlines reported that demand was still down 82.9 percent in April compared to the same month in 2019.
Willie Walsh, the IATA’s director general, said: “The continuing strong recovery in domestic markets tells us that when people are given the freedom to fly, they take advantage of it.
“Unfortunately, that freedom still does not exist in most international markets. When it does, I’m confident we will see a similar resurgence in demand.”