GATE EXPECTATIONS

Kuwait 2019 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

Kuwait hopes to become a global travel hub by establishing new international partnerships and developing regulation at home.

Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Homoud Al-Sabah
BIOGRAPHY
Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Homoud Al-Sabah is the President of DGCA. Prior to that, he held the position of Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration from Kuwait University in 1982. His career began as a political researcher in the office of His Highness the Crown Prince, Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah. In August 2013, he was re-appointed to hold the portfolios of the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs, before his appointment as Chief of Civil Aviation in March 2017.

How is the DGCA increasing the levels of effectiveness and efficiency of its airport management operations?

The DGCA is working hard at updating all its capabilities, human resources, technologies, and infrastructure. DGCA is also aiming to establish solid partnerships with international organizations specialized in aviation, as well as the private sector in order to elevate our capabilities in all services. Our objective is to have a hub linking east with west that takes advantage of Kuwait's geographical position. Additionally, we aim to create more jobs and commercial opportunities for our citizens trough effective strategies and by implementing a plan that enhances productivity, efficiency, and financial returns of all activities in the aviation sector. Effectiveness and efficiency have been defined by ICAO-ACI six key performance areas: core, safety and security, service quality, productivity and cost effectiveness, financial and commercial status, and environmental compliance. Over the last five years, the government has invested more than USD15 billion to achieve these goals and reach that target. We are now expecting to invest more than USD20 billion in the coming 20 years. These ambitious plans started within the DGCA and our industry partners, such as Kuwait Airways, Jazeera Airways, and the National Air Services Company (NASC). All stakeholders started to work together to the level of their capabilities. Our first objective is finalizing the approval process and modernizing our aviation regulatory governance through the new draft law for aviation. This will allow us to interact in a more professional way with the private sector, both nationally and internationally.

In what ways can DGCA collaborate with local and international groups in order to develop the aerospace sector in Kuwait?

Our role as regulator is to certify and give support to any aviation training facility in Kuwait. It is our job to create the right working environment for these facilities, which is why we gave our full support to Boeing's program in Kuwait. It will train pilots and every other component of aviation, such as engineers.

What are your goals and expectations for 2019?

There are many important issues going on in 2019. This involves the approval of the aviation laws and regulations, revisions of the airport's master plan, setting up the aviation academy, enhancing the productivity of our current staff, and insuring the proper implementation of existing projects. We also need to set up an adequate air navigation system as well as ground handling, in addition to enhancing safety and security. We are thinking about revising our terminal's operational performance and strategy. Kuwait International Airport has four terminals that are fully operational and one under construction. It is important that in 2019 we start setting out our vision for the coming 20 years. We are also focused on finalizing the exclusive terminal two, making it operational and most importantly managed well. We are thinking about having more terminals within Kuwait International Airport as part of the new master-plan to cater for the next 20-year vision. Finally, under our contract with Incheon Airport, the recruitment of Kuwaitis and training 125 nationals every year in various airport operation and management functions will help ensure the drafted goals and DGCA's vision using dedicated budget for human resource development. Young Kuwaitis can acquire training in South Korea and Kuwait to build up their capabilities and performance as preparation for the new airport. The government is keen to see the aviation sector developing.