Saudi aviation authority aims to localize 10,000 air transport jobs

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Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) launched a new initiative on Tuesday to localize jobs in the air transport sector.

The initiative, announced in a statement on Twitter, aims to localize 10,000 jobs in 28 specialized professions across the sector by 2023.

It comes as a product of GACA’s cooperation with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.

Targeted jobs include pilots, co-pilots, runway and ground services coordinators, flight directors, flight attendants, air traffic controllers, supervisors, some maintenance technicians, aircraft catering, passenger handlers, cargo and others.

This step comes as part of efforts to enhance the aviation sector further and reduce unemployment in the Kingdom to 7 percent, as per the objectives of the Vision 2030 reform plan.

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All airlines, maintenance and operation contractors, as well as service providers in all airports across the country, were directed to begin implementing the initiative.

GACA has designated a team to monitor and follow up on the initiative’s implementation on a monthly basis, prepare reports and refer them to the authority.

The news comes as Saudia Aerospace Engineering Industries and the Prince Sultan Aviation Academy announced the signing of a joint cooperation training agreement with the US Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology.

The aim is to exchange training experiences, qualify national cadres and enhance the quality of training in aircraft maintenance.

Ibrahim Al-Omar, director general of Saudia airline, said the agreement would enhance the efficiency of technical training at the carrier.

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Unemployment reached its highest level in the second quarter of 2020 — 15.4 percent. The General Authority for Statistics also reported that the jobless rate among Saudi women reached 31.4 percent.

The total labor force consists of 3.1 million citizens and 10.5 million non-Saudis. The strategy of nationalizing jobs is therefore crucial in reducing Saudi unemployment.

In 2018, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development issued a decision to replace expatriate workers with Saudis in 12 key economic activities.

In 2020, the Kingdom announced its plans to nationalize 20 percent of engineering jobs and 30 percent of accounting jobs.

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