Taking Flight

Aviation Department soars after gaining GACA certification

Certification ensures that Aramco is aligning with new regulatory requirements.

Aviation Department soars after gaining GACA certification

The Aviation Department has successfully obtained five operating certificates from the Saudi Arabian General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).


The department, which also holds U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification, operates one of the largest corporate fleets in the world, with 42 aircraft flying more than 700,000 passengers to 600 destinations in a normal operating year.



List of Licenses
The following is a list of the licenses provided to the Aramco Aviation Department on Jan. 28.
• GACA Air Operator Certification Part 125 for noncommercial airplanes
• GACA Air Operator Certification Part 133 to operate aerial dispersal of liquids, such as oil dispersants, from Air Tractor planes
• Three GACA Part 145 Certifications for Aramco maintenance stations at Dammam, Ras Tanura, and Tanajib. 



“The completing of the certification requirements shows the professionalism … the Aviation Department has cultivated across decades of operations,” said Fahad M. Al Abdul Kareem, executive director of Industrial Services.


“Obtaining the certification ensures that Aramco is aligning its operations with new regulatory requirements in the Kingdom,” Al Abdul Kareem said.


Quality and skills


Khalid H. Al Natour, manager of the Aviation Department, said the organization worked hard to complement its FAA certification with the five GACA certificates.


“The department will still need to meet the same stringent flight crew training, and our aircraft will be required to be maintained at enhanced safety standards required of commercial airlines,” Al Natour said.


Yaser A. Badr, a senior training captain with Aviation Technical Training Standards, said the successful certification was due to high levels of compliance and diligent reporting.


Higher standards


The certification process included dealing with extensive documentation, including 37 manuals, some of which are thousands of pages long. 


Operating with Saudi certification will result in higher standards and enhanced communication, according to the department, as it will be corresponding with GACA officials in Riyadh or Jiddah instead of with regulatory representatives overseas in different time zones.


Meanwhile, the helicopter pilots, fixed wing pilots, and maintenance crews are all in the process of obtaining Saudi licenses in accordance with GACA regulations and in addition to FAA standards. 


“While the certification has changed, the Aviation Department continues to maintain one of the biggest corporate fleets in the world to ensure that the company has unrivaled air mobility to continue to produce energy to the world,” said Al Abdul Kareem.



You are currently using an older browser. Please note that using a more modern browser such as Microsoft Edge might improve the user experience. Download Microsoft Edge