GACA shoots down near-miss claims
The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has rejected a report claiming that incidents of planes passing too close to each other in Saudi airspace is seven times the international average, with about 20 incidents a year.
A local daily on Monday had made the claims, quoting GACA sources. It had also claimed there are insufficient traffic controllers at the Kingdom’s airports and that early warning systems are outdated.
The GACA statement said the report carried incorrect details regarding air traffic controllers and the systems and equipment installed in the Kingdom for air safety.
“GACA has not received any complaint from international organizations especially in the field of air navigation or from any aircraft regarding the services offered by the air transport system in the Kingdom,” the statement said.
GACA said that many international airlines prefer to use Saudi airspace, even if they are able to reduce flight time by taking other routes.
The statement said that GACA has 600 air traffic controllers, all Saudis, who have undergone extensive training at home and abroad.
The statement said that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a body under the United Nations that coordinates issues such as air transportation safety, minutely examines the level of air navigation safety in all its member countries.
The statement said that GACA has received a 98 percent score in the implementation of the ICAO’s safety programs. Moreover, the Kingdom was elected to the ICAO council several times along with other 12 major countries since 1986, GACA said.