On June 28, 2018, the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council, “the Council,” hosted an Executive Business Dialogue with the delegation from the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), headed by H.E. Abdulhakim Altamimi, President of GACA, at the Offices of Mayer Brown in Washington, D.C. During the program’s opening remarks, Mr. Altamimi emphasized that “civil aviation is not a linear industry, but one that presents a wide range of investment opportunities, including infrastructure, construction, software and IT, as well as management and services.” Mr. Altamimi stated that GACA is stridently working to meet objectives of the Saudi Vision 2030 and to position the Kingdom as an international logistical center that links three continents and receives 30 million pilgrims.
During the program, Mr. Riad Abdo, Executive Vice President, Investment Development North America, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), discussed the Kingdom’s economic strength and incentives for foreign companies to invest in Saudi Arabia. He stated that Saudi Arabia is the 20th largest economy worldwide and the 11th fastest growing economy in the G20. Mr. Abdo also noted that Saudi Arabia’s attractive investment environment is fostered from its integrated infrastructure, young workforce, and drive for diversification.
Dr. Bader Al Sagri, GACA Deputy Assistant President, Economic Policies and Air Transport, led an interactive presentation with several other GACA officials on how the Authority is supporting the goals of Vision 2030. These objectives include the promotion of investment opportunities; becoming a major contributor to GDP, while modernizing the Saudi aviation sector; developing effective air transport operations and maintenance measures in line with international standards; and more.
With 27 airports and more than 91 million passengers per year, Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation sector continues to grow at a rapid pace. To accommodate passenger traffic while modernizing services, GACA is implementing new privatization plans that center around long-term public-private partnership concessions, corporatization, and management contracts. Overall, GACA officials emphasized that the Authority aims to transition from an operator to a regulator.