(MENAFN - Arab News) The International Air Services Negotiation Conference (ICAN2012), which opens here today, will witness signing of about 350 bilateral agreements between participating countries to boost air transport services.
Informed sources told Arab News that the Kingdom would hold negotiations with 35 countries to help its national flag carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines to operate more flights. "We expect a record number of aviation agreements signed during the conference," one source said.
More than 700 delegates from 75 countries will attend the five-day event at Jeddah Hilton organized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in association with the General Authority of Civil Aviation.
This year's ICAN coincides with International Civil Aviation Day, which is observed on Dec. 7. Like all previous meetings, it will provide states with a central meeting place to conduct multiple bilateral (regional or multilateral) air services negotiations and a forum to exchange experiences and discuss major issues.
The aviation day will be held at Lailaty Hall, 10 minutes from the Hilton Hotel. The opening session will also witness distribution of achievement awards and an aviation art show.
"There will be a seminar on international air transport policy and liberalization," a GACA official said, adding that GACA President Prince Fahd bin Abdullah will give a keynote speech tomorrow (Saturday). The next four days are allocated for bilateral meetings and signing agreements.
GACA will organize daily trips to Makkah for Muslim participants to perform Umrah and two trips to Madinah to help them visit the Prophet's Mosque. It will also organize a visit to Old Jeddah and a cruise in the Red Sea.
"About 38 countries have requested negotiations with Saudi Arabia during the conference," the prince said.
The event website says this year's choice of the Kingdom as the conference's host reflects its leading position in the international air transport industry.
"It gives an opportunity for GACA to highlight its efforts for the development of the Kingdom's air transport sector and its contributions to the progress of civil aviation at global level," the website added.
ICAN started first in 2003 to keep countries abreast of the latest developments in the aviation sector. It is considered an opportunity for ICAO member states to carry out negotiations between them in one place. ICAO has 191 member countries.
This conference is primarily organized due to the international trend of the civil aviation sector to consolidate the concept of the common international framework in order to keep up with the rapid developments.