Iata to set up office in Saudi Arabia

The base will provide consultation and training as the kingdom focuses on a new transport strategy to become a global logistics hub

The Kingdom Tower stands illuminated at night on King Fahad Road in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Monday, April 9, 2012. Saudi Arabia's gross domestic product expanded 6.64 percent in the fourth quarter from a year ago, the kingdom's statistics agency said. Photographer: Waseem Obaidi/Bloomberg *** Local Caption ***  1016260.jpg

Saudi Arabia's civil aviation authority says it has signed an agreement with the International Air Transport Association (Iata) to establish an office in the kingdom.

Iata's office will provide consultations and training courses for air transport companies in Saudi Arabia and neighbouring countries as well as providing the kingdom's civil aviation industry with data related to international air transport, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said.

"The presence of the regional office of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in the kingdom will augment the provision of the necessary support for air transport companies within the kingdom and the region," GACA said.

Iata, which groups 290 airlines under its membership, represents 82 per cent of global air traffic. The trade body's Middle East and Africa headquarters is located in Amman, Jordan.

"Iata is strengthening its presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by establishing a new office in the kingdom. Iata's regional office (regional headquarters) remains in Jordan, Amman," an Iata spokeswoman said. "Iata is committed to supporting the development of aviation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and contributing towards realising the vision of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to turn the kingdom into a global aviation hub over the coming years."

On Monday, Saudi Arabia said it plans to invest more than 500 billion riyals ($133bn) by 2030 to expand its transport sector as part of a strategy to make the kingdom a global logistics centre.

Saudi Arabia's National Strategy for Transport and Logistics was announced last week. The strategy aims to boost the contribution of the transport and logistics sectors to gross domestic product to 10 per cent by 2030, up from 6 per cent.

Plans include the launch of a new flagship airline, expanding airports and ports, enlarging its railway network and investing in futuristic public transport technology such as the Hyperloop, according to Saudi government officials.

The move is part of the kingdom's broader vision to diversify its economy, develop its non-oil sector, create jobs and attract foreign investment and skilled talent.

Updated: July 07, 2021, 12:45 PM