Saudi Arabia joins air taxi race

CGI of a concept design for a Vertiport developed for Urban Air Mobility by Setec and its partners. (Supplied)
CGI of a concept design for a Vertiport developed for Urban Air Mobility by Setec and its partners. (Supplied)
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Updated 10 December 2023
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Saudi Arabia joins air taxi race

CGI of a concept design for a Vertiport developed for Urban Air Mobility by Setec and its partners. (Supplied)
  • French engineering firm Setec Group a key partner in sustainable transport
  • ‘We’re trying to put our green touch and valued engineering expertise to have buildings and assets with lower impact on the environment,’ says official

RIYADH: French engineering and consulting firm Setec Group is working on urban air mobility in the Kingdom.

The concept being developed with the company’s European partners and manufacturers aims to provide air mobility for people and goods.

With Dubai expecting to launch its first flying taxi by 2026, and countries considering the service as a way to ease traffic conditions, Saudi Arabia is also joining the race for air mobility.




King Salman Park is the world’s largest urban park in the heart of Riyadh, with multidisciplinary engineering design by Setec. (Supplied)

The French integrated engineering solutions provider is developing new mobility solutions, especially for the Gulf region, with the development of public transport and soft mobility services for smart cities.

“It is like an air taxi. We have developed a preliminary feasibility study for Riyadh, to connect Riyadh with the new centralities that are being developed in the vicinity, namely Diriyah and Qiddiyah, and the service might be implemented in the coming years, to ease the road infrastructure, and for fast transit between the different centralities,” Patrick Bteich, a partner at Setec Group, told Arab News en Francais.

“Air mobility needs special permits from various ministries,and you need to work on corridors to mitigate security issues … from pilot to the implementation, it can take a few years depending on the regulation. But it’s a project that could be developed for Vision 2030,” Bteich added.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Urban air mobility would serve to ease traffic conditions.

• Dubai expects to launch its first flying taxi by 2026.

• Setec Group is one amongst several French companies working in AlUla.

Development of AlUla in recent years has witnessed significant French-Saudi collaboration through the AfAlUla and RCU intergovernmental agreement. The partnerships demonstrate the Kingdom’s ambition to make AlUla a leading international destination for culture and tourism.

Setec Group is one amongst several French companies working in AlUla.

The engineering firm’s presence in AlUla falls in line with the intergovernmental agreement, as well as the group’s desire to expand its presence in the western parts of the Kingdom.




Patrick Bteich, Setec Group partner

The French group, which is also working on King Salman Park and the development of metro lines, aims to “help the Kingdom reach its objectives as part of Vision 2030,” Bteich said.

“We’re looking to position ourselves, working on iconic buildings in terms of assets, high-rise tower projects, and we are interested in all the metro and LRT (light rail transit) developments that are happening in the region. In Riyadh, we have line extensions that are going to be floated to the market, including the Qiddiya LRT,” he added.

In its manifesto for low-carbon construction, Setec Group committed to offering low-carbon alternatives on its projects.

Our motto today is resilience and adapting to climate change, which is quite important in the region knowing that heat waves may become stronger and last longer.

Patrick Bteich, Setec Group partner

“We’re also trying to put our green touch and valued engineering expertise to have buildings and assets with lower impact on the environment. Our motto today is resilience and adapting to climate change, which is quite important in the region knowing that heat waves may become stronger and last longer,” he added.

The engineering firm is focused on international expansion, which makes up more than 30 percent of its activity.

With established offices in KSA, the UAE, and Egypt, the group is centering its efforts and business development in Saudi Arabia, in line with the Kingdom’s mega projects, with three offices across the country.




The Louis Vuitton Foundation, a contemporary art center located in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris. Architectural design by Frank Gehry and multidisciplinary engineering design by Setec. (Supplied)

“In the Kingdom, we are now finalizing our work on the King Salman Park, the landscape design with our partners Gerber Architekten (German architects) and Buro Happold (English engineers), and we have submitted the last package at the end of October, and the construction is underway and within budget. The project is expected to open soon,” Bteich said.

Setec is also working on the project management for Diriyah Gate and has worked on project management within the FAST consortium on 3 out of the 6 metro lines of Riyadh.

“The core of our activity is related to transport and infrastructure: Metros, trains, highways, high-speed lines, airports … this is around 60 percent to 65 percent of our activity, and this was the core activity when we started, with complex structures,” he added.

Among its flagship projects, Setec worked on the French section of the underwater Channel Tunnel between France and the UK.

The group also designed the Viaduc de Millau, the world’s tallest cable-stayed bridge, as well as iconic buildings including the Louis Vuitton Foundation Museum in France, the Tribunal de Justice in Paris, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

“We assist architects in the design to make the project happen … we had the chance to meet key clients from Saudi Arabia recently and it is going to open good opportunities for collaboration,” Bteich said.

Setec Group includes more than 40 companies. The firm develops feasibility studies leading to detailed design studies, environmental impact assessments, and offers client site supervision and consulting services.

 

 

 


Reading marathon promotes library culture, greener future

Reading marathon promotes library culture, greener future
Updated 7 sec ago
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Reading marathon promotes library culture, greener future

Reading marathon promotes library culture, greener future
  • Bookworms’ efforts over three days concluded with pledge to plant over 2,500 trees in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco

DHAHRAN: A reading marathon to promote library culture and environmental awareness was recently organized in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Morocco, with over a quarter of a million pages read.

The Arab libraries that participated in the three-day event were King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, also known as Ithra, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt and the National Library of Morocco.

The goal of the marathon was to plant one tree for every 100 pages read, which Ithra estimates would take an average reader one hour. The center said that 326,250 pages were read during the reading marathon, equivalent to 2,504 trees.

The largest reading marathon in Arab libraries was organized ‘to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life.’ (Supplied/AN photos)

The printing of physical books consumes a large percentage of trees, so the planting of new ones directly arrests some of that loss.

Upon arrival at the designated library during operating hours, participants registered at the reception and received a QR code which they used throughout the experience. They were gifted a bookmark and a notebook to log their details. Upon completing their reading for the day, they returned to the reception area to declare the number of pages they read, which were then logged.

HIGHLIGHTS

• According to Ithra, 326,250 pages were read during the reading marathon, equivalent to 2,504 trees.

• Ithra will plant the trees on the readers’ behalf in collaboration with the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification in Saudi Arabia.

• A token of appreciation was awarded to those who read 100 pages, 200 pages, 500 pages and 1,000 pages.

In an effort to encourage reading in public spaces, all had to read books in-person in order for it to count, participating on one, two or all three days depending on availability.

The largest reading marathon in Arab libraries was organized ‘to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life.’ (Supplied/AN photos)

A token of appreciation was awarded to those who read 100 pages, 200 pages, 500 pages and 1,000 pages.

At Ithra, a large screen updated the number of pages completed in real time, as well as showing the updated numbers from Morocco and Egypt.

“This is the largest reading marathon in Arab libraries, held for three days from Feb. 29 to March 2. It seeks to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life,” an official statement by Ithra said.

The largest reading marathon in Arab libraries was organized ‘to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life.’ (Supplied/AN photos)

Abdulrhman Al-Qahtani was one of the participants at Ithra. An avid reader, he drove a short distance to the center to join in the fun after coming across a post about it on social media. With his cup of black coffee situated on a small round table, he found a comfortable spot in a plush seat in the middle of the plaza and was immediately immersed in a book written by the late, great Egyptian author Taha Hussein.

Speaking to Arab News, Al-Qahtani said: “I have a ritual of reading every afternoon during the weekend, but this time, it’s with an even greater purpose. Normally, people read for their own personal pleasure or growth but this was an opportunity to do what I already do — and the world would also benefit.

Planting trees is going to help make the world more beautiful, but the lasting impact on our planet will be immense.

Abdulrhman Al-Qahtani, Reading marathon participant, Ithra

“Planting trees is going to help make the world more beautiful, but the lasting impact on our planet will be immense. I’m happy to do my part.”

Talking about the experience, he added: “Usually, I read on my own at various places with the sounds of laughter swirling around me. Here, I’m amongst other readers. Ithra did a great job in making this a suitable environment for reading. Instead of reading 100 pages, you’ll read 200.

“This is my first time participating and it has been such a great experience. I brought my own book but once I’m done, I’ll browse the books available here and I’m sure I’ll read pages from those, too,” he concluded.

The largest reading marathon in Arab libraries was organized ‘to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life.’ (Supplied/AN photos)

While many of the books on the shelves at Ithra were in Arabic, readers were encouraged to read any book in any language. They could bring their own, like Al-Qahtani, or borrow some from the shelves. The pages could also be from the same book or from multiple books.

The space directly beneath the iconic Ithra library also had seats for people to sit and read on. Ithra added temporary booths with books in the middle of the plaza for easy access.

Ithra will plant the trees on the readers’ behalf at a later date, in collaboration with the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification in Saudi Arabia. The other participating countries will also plant trees in their local communities.

 


Exhibition at Saudi creative hub shows anonymous artist’s personality

‘Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition’ is at Huna Takhassusi until march 7. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)
‘Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition’ is at Huna Takhassusi until march 7. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)
Updated 14 sec ago
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Exhibition at Saudi creative hub shows anonymous artist’s personality

‘Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition’ is at Huna Takhassusi until march 7. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)

RIYADH: A collaboration between Saudi creative hub Burble and anonymous artist Mo Lazim Tearef has brought a personality-themed art exhibition to Riyadh.

“Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition” is at Huna Takhassusi until March 7. It features seven blue and red paintings created with acrylics, along with a bare space representing unfinished works. Together, the works tell MLT’s story (whose name translates as “You don’t need to know”) as he confronts two traits that annoy him about his own character — haste and excuses.

Mohammed Al-Kabeer, curator and founder of the exhibition, said this was the third and final episode of MLT’s story, following on from “Grandpa’s Kid” and “My friend is a vampire.”

‘Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition’ is at Huna Takhassusi until march 7. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)

“MLT created this exhibition (by) rushing everything with an incomplete vision, which showcases how hasty he is,” he said.

The artist has created square characters to symbolize his excuses. The blue one is “the father of excuses” while the red ones are the small ones who follow.

Al-Kabeer said: “Father of excuses is a character that resides within each of us. He constantly rationalizes our actions, providing excuses that enable us to persist and persuade ourselves of the righteousness of our deeds regardless of their merit. He holds excuses in high regard, treating them as his own offspring.

‘Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition’ is at Huna Takhassusi until march 7. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)

“The persona takes inspiration from the (purple) dot on the Burble logo. MLT opted for blue and red (because the) amalgamation results in the color Burble (purple).”     

The exhibition walks viewers through MLT’s perception of excuses in every action he performs, touching their hearts along the way. The abandoned paints, brushes and mop in one corner represent his unfinished work.

“We have collaborated with more than 30 artists, but MLT is the only (one we have) adopted and who we have a lifetime contract with,” Al-Kabeer added.

Burble is a multidisciplinary creative hub that focuses on exhibitions, talks, courses and pop-ups.

 

 


Who’s Who: Majed Fuad Al-Sinan, regional director of KFB Holding Group

Majed Fuad Al-Sinan
Majed Fuad Al-Sinan
Updated 20 sec ago
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Who’s Who: Majed Fuad Al-Sinan, regional director of KFB Holding Group

Majed Fuad Al-Sinan

Majed Fuad Al-Sinan has served as regional director of KFB Holding Group since September 2021.

The group brings the latest technologies to Saudi Arabia, and adapts products for local conditions, aligning with the community development ambitions of the Kingdom.

In his role, Al-Sinan is responsible for creating and exploring new markets to develop projects and increase the company’s market share. He also focuses on maintaining and strengthening relationships with existing customers, as well as a network of public and private partners.

In addition to his role at KFB Holding Group, Al-Sinan has worked as general manager at the MEMF Electrical Industries Co. solar and modular solutions business unit since December 2023. Since April 2022, he has served on the board of B&R Gulf LLC.

Before his role at KFB, Al-Sinan held a range of corporate roles, reflecting his extensive professional experience.

From June 2019 to May 2021, he worked as business development manager for Saudi Arabia at Lefebvre Engineering FZC in the UAE. In this role, he was responsible for creating and exploring new markets, maintaining customer relationships, and supporting the development and implementation of sales strategies.

From May 2015 to April 2019, Al-Sinan served as power division head at APTC Trading Co. Ltd. in Saudi Arabia. In this position, he managed the sales, services and projects departments. He developed business plans and sales strategies for the division, provided timely feedback and reports to senior management, and controlled expenses to meet budget guidelines.

From December 2012 to April 2015, Al-Sinan worked as proposal manager at Dar Al-Riyadh Holding Co. Ltd. Dar Masdar. His responsibilities included managing all proposal functions, optimizing the gross margin of the value chain and ensuring proactive contribution to competitive biddings.

In 2012, Al-Sinan worked as an inside sales engineer at Cooper Industries, which was acquired by Eaton the same year. In this role, he provided cost estimates and prepared quotations, determined customer requirements, recommended specific products and solutions, processed purchase orders, and educated customers about product features and benefits.

He began his career in August 2008 at Mohammad Al-Mojil Group, working in various project sites before being transferred to the contracts department in the head office. He left the company in January 2012.

Al-Sinan holds a bachelor’s degree in applied electrical engineering from King Fahd University of

 


Jeddah art exhibition highlights students’ creative odyssey

Layal Alireza's work explores the concepts of identity and culture, drawing inspiration from old Jeddah as a foundational elemen
Layal Alireza's work explores the concepts of identity and culture, drawing inspiration from old Jeddah as a foundational elemen
Updated 59 min 41 sec ago
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Jeddah art exhibition highlights students’ creative odyssey

Layal Alireza's work explores the concepts of identity and culture, drawing inspiration from old Jeddah as a foundational elemen
  • “The real challenge lies in sustaining motivation and consistently producing top-tier work over the two-year period, akin to a marathon rather than a sprint"

JEDDAH: The inaugural IB2 Visual Art Exhibition at the British International School of Jeddah opened with a display of 70 pieces created by eight students.

The exhibition, which runs until March 7, features diverse themes and art forms including painting, printmaking, photography, digital art, sculpture and installations. The works reflect each artist’s unique journey.

Head of Secondary School Pierre Scottorn said the art section of the International Baccalaureate diploma was very demanding: “Every student studying art in the program is featured in this exhibition. Over two years, they must create a comprehensive portfolio of work that includes a significant written component. (It) is not just a creative subject; it is highly academic. Students carefully curate their exhibition space, explaining the reasoning behind their artistic choices. Their grades are based not only on their artwork but also on the written explanations and overall presentation of the exhibition.”

Layal Alireza's work explores the concepts of identity and culture, drawing inspiration from old Jeddah as a foundational element of her family history. (Supplied)

He added: “The purpose of this exhibition is to showcase the exceptional talent of our students and the high-quality teaching that supports them. It is a celebration of their hard work and dedication.”

Scottorn also highlighted the diverse career paths students could subsequently pursue.

“Some students will continue their studies in art at university, while others will pursue different careers such as fashion or architecture. Our students have been successful in gaining admission to top universities globally, thanks to the high standards of their work. The quality of their art significantly impacts their university applications and future opportunities,” he said.

Layal Alireza's work explores the concepts of identity and culture, drawing inspiration from old Jeddah as a foundational element of her family history. (Supplied)

“The real challenge lies in sustaining motivation and consistently producing top-tier work over the two-year period, akin to a marathon rather than a sprint. This challenge extends to both students and teachers, requiring ongoing support and encouragement.”

Scottorn said he wanted his school to become a leader in the arts and added he valued partnerships with other organizations and individuals that would support this. He also hopes to introduce an artist-in-residence program in due course.

Shehzia Khan, head of visual art, shared insights into the depth and personalization of the students’ higher level art projects.

(L to R) Jude Kayal, Ayesha Rehman, Mayar Abdul Nnabi, Mrs. Shehzia Khan, Loulwa Al-Banna, Shahad El-Adawy, Sara Kreidieh, Mashael Iqbal. (Supplied)

“All the students participating in this exhibition are enrolled in higher level art. This year, they explored deeply personal themes showcasing a diverse range of subjects including fame, journeys, stages of life, empowerment of Saudi women, freedom, addiction, the human body, and culture and identity,” she said.

“Each student has chosen a theme close to their heart, demonstrating individualized and passionate explorations. The IB program offers students the freedom to choose their artistic direction after mastering foundational skills in oil painting, graphic design and sculpture.”

Khan said the exhibition served as the final exam, where each student had to display a minimum of eight pieces, curate their display, and provide detailed curatorial rationale and exhibition texts.

Mashael Iqbal, one of the exhibiting students, said: “I aimed to challenge the norms and shed light on the complexities of fame. By delving into themes of sexualization, method acting, and the darker side of celebrity lifestyles, I strived to provoke thought and evoke emotions. Each element in my exhibition represents a facet of the industry that often goes unnoticed. My passion for art and storytelling drives me to consider a future in the creative field, with a keen interest in exploring animation and digital media.”

Saudi art student Sara Kreidieh added: “My exhibition theme centers on the human body, delving into deeper dimensions beyond the physical aspects typically associated with it. Through my artwork, I aim to shed light on masculinity, the reluctance to seek help, confused identities, and societal issues such as racism, emotions, stress, and body dysmorphia. My collection includes paintings, photography, digital pieces and sculptures. I plan to pursue studies in architecture and eventually return to Saudi Arabia for professional work in the field.”

Even the school’s nursery level pupils are part of the exhibition. Helen Elhoss, head of early years, said: “Our children begin their art journey at two years old. Guided by the Reggio Emilia approach, children are encouraged to explore diverse avenues for expressing their creativity and thoughts.

“The theme of our exhibition was centered around community. Some of our children ventured into the community to understand its significance to them. They then represented their interpretations incorporating elements like nature.”

 


Saudi HR fund organizes forum for career counseling, training

Job seekers at the Madinah forum organized by Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) in October 2022. (Supplied)
Job seekers at the Madinah forum organized by Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) in October 2022. (Supplied)
Updated 47 min ago
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Saudi HR fund organizes forum for career counseling, training

Job seekers at the Madinah forum organized by Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) in October 2022. (Supplied)
  • Developing human capital is a key aspect in implementing the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, said Dr. Mohammed Al-Abdulhafedh, former director general of joint training at the Technical and Vocational Training Corp.

RIYADH: Under the patronage of Prince Hussam bin Saud bin Abdulaziz, the Liaqaat Baha Forum was launched on Monday at Al-Baha University.

Organized by the Saudi Human Resources Development Fund, the three-day forum aims to provide programs and services for individuals and establishments, offering insights into career counseling and training.

The event seeks to invest in human capital and enhance the skills of workers to enter a competitive market, targeting both job seekers and employers.

Through workshops, symposiums, lectures, and other activities, the forum aims to establish positive partnerships with private sector entities and create job opportunities to boost the national economy.

An accompanying exhibition will showcase job opportunities for male and female job seekers, along with various training sessions provided by participating establishments.

Awwad Al-Dhafeeri, CEO of Shabakat ABAD Training Institute (L) and Dr. Mohammad Al-Abdulhafedh, a former Director General of Joint Training at the General Corporation for Technical and Vocational Training. (Supplied)

Additionally, visitors will receive information on the career counseling portal Subol to help them understand current and future skills needed in the labor market.

Developing human capital is a key aspect in implementing the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, said Dr. Mohammed Al-Abdulhafedh, former director general of joint training at the Technical and Vocational Training Corp.

Al-Abdulhafedh said that the forum focuses on optimizing the benefits of training to qualify workers and that the exchange of experiences between human resources specialists and academics is crucial in developing the skills of those in the workforce, ultimately contributing to the growth of the national economy.

Sharpening the skills of employees ultimately reduces production costs and increases productivity, he added, while continuous training is essential in the face of ongoing technological developments, which have a profound impact on labor markets.

Al-Abdulhafedh said that businesses now recognize the significance of prioritizing professional certificates, which have become requirements for various professions, fostering competition among enterprises.

According to Shabakat ABAD Training Institute CEO Awwad Al-Dhafeeri, developing employee skills is crucial for businesses to stay competitive in the global market and enhance employee efficiency, foster innovation and improve products and services.

Supervisor-led training is no longer sufficient due to rapidly changing technology, he added, while distinguishing employees through the continuous development of their skills provides a competitive advantage in the job market.