RIYADH: The first day of the inaugural Future Aviation Forum has started in Saudi Arabia, with more than 2,000 attendees expected.
The two-day event, being held in Riyadh, will see leaders from the public and business sectors mix with international CEOs and regulators as the aviation industry aims to resolve post-pandemic issues and shape future international air travel.
The forum hosted by the General Authority of Civil Aviation, also known as GACA, will feature more than 120 speakers.
Current Crisis Concerns: Talking to Arab News on the sidelines of the event, Jean-Marc Bourreau, partner at Consulum Aviation, said the global effect of the pandemic has shaped the creation of Saudi Arabia's new Global Air Travel policy.
“This is what is going to fuel the Vision 2030. How can we talk about the future 2030, if we are not able to propose solutions to get out of the current crisis?” Bourreau added.
Chinese Impact: The aviation sector has slowed due to China’s zero-Covid policy, which is impossible to achieve, according to International Air Transport Association director general, Willie Walsh.
Walsh noted that soaring energy prices are one of the most difficult challenges the aviation sector is facing, as it tries to come out of the economic slump caused by the pandemic
Vision 2030: Saudi Arabia is working towards achieving a solid aviation ecosystem as it looks towards taking on a regional hub role, in line with the nation's Vision 2030, said Raid Ismael, co-head of Middle East and North Africa direct investment and the Kingdom's Public Investment Fund.
“From a commercial aviation perspective, there are lots of opportunities when it comes to the new carrier within Riyadh. The most important is the ecosystem that is around it. To have a solid ecosystem and a multiplier effect, to make sure we drive that into a leading hub within the region,” said Ismael.
Future Fuel: Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said that a low-carbon fuel for aviation could emerge as the transitionary fuel for the future.
The minister noted that achieving sustainability cannot be done by just relying on biofuels. Instead, he made it clear that all options including hydrogen should be considered to ensure a better low-carbon future.
Special Riyadh Zone: In a bid to attract more multinational companies from the logistics and cargo sector, Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation has started working on a special economic zone in Riyadh.
GACA president Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Duailej revealed this new special zone will have economic and legislative packages capable of driving up more multinational entities in the future.
New national airline: Saudi Arabia is aiming to obtain an investment of $100 billion in the aviation sector by the end of this decade, Saudi Minister of Transport Saleh Al-Jasser told the inaugural ceremony of the forum.
He also added that the Saudi Arabian government has ambitious plans to launch a new national carrier which could emerge as one of the best in the world in the coming years.
New travel rules: In a bid to smooth the process of international air travel, Saudi Arabia has announced a new Global Air Travel policy.
The new framework is expected to make international journeys simpler, by avoiding the confusion over travel requirements currently discouraging millions of people from booking flights.