A journey of more than 30 years has produced 94 editions
Newsgate360 – KSA: The Civil Aviation Magazine, issued by the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), is the first magazine specializing in civil aviation to be published in both Arabic and English. The magazine span more than 30 years, where 94 issues were published. It has taken upon itself to contribute in spreading awareness and of the aviation industry. The magazine goals is to highlight the Kingdom’s efforts and achievements in all fields of civil aviation, where it monitored all the historical stages of the civil aviation industry from its early beginnings in the twentieth century, until the present stage. Its purpose is to follow the technical developments in the aviation industry at a global level.
On the local level, the magazine’s issues have dealt with the civil aviation progression in the Kingdom and its most prominent features since its inception. It covered the developments witnessed by civil aviation from its early start, until the present day.
The first magazine edition was issued in Jumada Al-Awwal in the year 1408, and the first issues included topics about the start of civil aviation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A start that began with the first landing in the Kingdom’s first runway for a civilian aircraft in 1352 (1934). Aramco has created the runway on a patch of desert land near the city of Jubail. The runway was dedicated to the landing and takeoff of aircraft operating in the field of oil exploration in the eastern region. That first issue also highlighted the first civil flight for pilgrims and that was in the year 1355 (1937), which was operated by Egyptian Airlines. The first issue also included many topics, such as the future of civil aviation in the year two thousand, and the acquisition of new technology, and an article about the success story of the British Airports Authority.
The magazine also reviewed the role of King Abdulaziz Al Saud (may God have mercy on him) in laying the first building blocks for civil aviation in the Kingdom. It was him who realized with his reaching insight into the future that uniting a country that spans an area of more than 2 million km2, where deserts and mountains make up 95% of its territory, it’s therefore, requires means of modern and fast transportation linking the various parts of the country to each other and then with the outside world. Moreover, the sense of the importance of civil aviation as an essential element for the requirements of the renaissance that it seeks for the country. And it is from that conviction that King Abdulaziz, (may God have mercy on his soul) gave a special attention to the civil aviation sector in the Kingdom.
The magazine also dealt with many prominent turning points from these early beginnings, which included the arrival of the first civilian (Dakota DC3) plane produced by Douglas Aircraft Company, which landed in the Kingdom, specifically in the city of Jeddah, on 14/4/1945 and was a gift from US President Roosevelt to the king Abdulaziz, (may God have mercy on his soul), who in turn gifted that given plane to the people of the Kingdom. It was the nucleus that started civil aviation in the Kingdom and the beginning of domestic flights between Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhahran. And after a few months of the arrival of that first plane, His Majesty, ordered the purchase of two other planes of the same type, where the three planes formed the first nucleus of civil aviation in the country. King Abdulaziz also ordered the creation of many of dirt runways in various parts of the country, in the forefront of which were runways in Riyadh, Dhahran, Al-Hawiya in Taif, Hofuf, Buraidah, Jizan, Al Kharj and Afif, some of which formed airports with simple facilities, from which Saudi Airlines flew to and from. At a later date, an administration was established in the name of (Aviation Division) that supervises technical affairs, while administrative affairs were run by a division by the name of (Aircrafts Management Administration).
Several issues of the magazine also dealt with stories of the beginnings of the establishment of a number of the Kingdom’s airports and their various stages of development such as Arar Airport, which was established in 1944, which was called at that time (Bidna Airport), and Bisha Airport, which received its first flight in 1374H, a Dakota aircraft, which had King Saud (may God have mercy on him) on board. The airport began with one tent for both arriving and departing passengers. It was after his visit that King Saud, ordered the establishment of a modern airport in Bisha and then started the operation of flights to the region (as the first airport in the southern region).
Due to the importance of photo images in documenting historical events, the magazine published in some of its issues a set of pictures of the aircraft that were owned by the Kingdom during the start of the Saudi aviation era, including King Abdulaziz plane (Dakota DC3). It also documented the progression of the Kingdom’s purchases of aircrafts and their uses such as “Bristol 170” that entered service in the late 1940’s. The mentioned plane was used on flights between Riyadh, Jeddah, Dhahran, and Turaif, and the “Douglas DC-6” aircraft that entered service in the 1960s and was used on domestic and international flights, and the “Convair 340” plane that the Kingdom bought in the 1950s, which can and accommodate 44 passengers.
The magazine did not neglect the organizational and legislative development witnessed by the civil aviation sector in the Kingdom, as it touched on the first aviation systems issued, foremost of which (airport fee tariff system, landing system, aircraft transit, airport construction system and air navigation system), which was put into effect in in 1946. It also covered the establishment of (Civil Aviation Authority) In 1948 to include both Saudi Arabian Airlines and the Department of Civil Aviation. It also covered the creation of a comprehensive civil aviation system that was issued in 1953 and the separated Saudi Arabian Airlines from Civil Aviation in 1959, where the new title of the authority became (Directorate of Civil Aviation). Thereafter, a change of the name (Directorate of Civil Aviation) to become the (Presidency Civil Aviation) in 1977. Thereafter, came the transformation of the Presidency of Civil Aviation into a general authority with legal, financial and administrative independence to operate in accordance with commercial standards, with the new name (the General Authority of Civil Aviation). This came in a decision by the Council of Ministers issued in the year 2004. At a later date a royal decree was issued requiring the separation of the General Authority of Civil Aviation from the Ministry of Defense and a restructuring the aviation authority in 2011.
Through the magazine endeavor to cover and highlight the achievements of the civil aviation sector in the Kingdom, it devoted many topics of its coverage to the many construction and development projects witnessed in the Kingdom’s airports, such as the new King Abdulaziz International Airport project in Jeddah, King Abdullah Airport project in Jizan and the Prince Abdulmohsin bin Abdulaziz Airport project in Yanbu, as well as, Prince Abdulmajeed bin Abdulaziz Al Ula airport project, and Al Dawadmi Airport project.
At a global level, among the issues covered by the magazine were the first attempts at flying, which were followed by the efforts of the two Wright brothers in 1903. The Wright brothers attempt to manufacture the first plane known to mankind, to be followed by the stages of the manufacturing of multiple aircrafts whose output contributed greatly to a aviation effort at World War One. Thereafter, the world was introduced to regular operated air transport services in 1919, where passengers’ planes can cross the Atlantics and fly between continents. The most prominent leading air transport companies at the time were TWA, American and Eastern, Pan American, American Airlines and KLM.
And to take advantage of the successful experiences of global airports, the magazine devoted many covers issues to various international airports, such as Miami international Airport, Beijing Airport, Incheon Airport, Los Angeles international Airport and Vancouver Airport. The magazine also devoted some of its topics to cover the experiments of air carriers that have achieved outstanding successes such as Lufthansa, Delta and South West and British Airways.
On the level of aviation technology, the magazine’s issues covered many aspects of the developments witnessed by the civil aviation industry, such as giant aircrafts that changed the shape of aviation and airports itself. Aircrafts such as the (Airbus A380 and the Boeing B747). The subject of modern technology in air navigation systems and their impact on accommodating the increasing air traffic around the world, modern techniques in the field of air traffic control and modern methods to avoid the risks of aircraft colliding with birds and other topics were also covered extensively.
In addition to aviation technology, among the most prominent topics that the magazine dealt with in many of its articles and reports through its long journey, security and safety of civil aviation. Furthermore, marketing alliances between airlines, open skies policy, international cooperation in the field of civil aviation, and the high position that the Kingdom holds in international civil aviation forums. Aviation fuel consumption, and environmental protection from the negative effects of civil aviation activities, human resources in the fields of civil aviation, air traffic statistics and their development in the Kingdom, firefighting and rescue services at airports, air freight, economics of the air transport industry, regulations and legislation related to civil aviation, quality of services and customer protection, service for people with special needs, services to the pilgrims and issues related to civil aviation jurisprudence were also covered.
During the journey of the magazine, which lasted for more than three decades, a number of writers have contributed to its many issues (94 issues) to date. The articles were written by academics specializing in aviation at a local, regional and international level.