GACA: Issue more than 3,000 airworthiness licenses during 2021

December 23, 2021


 The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) revealed the issuance and renewal of 3,291 licensing and accreditation certificates related to airworthiness of civil aviation in the Kingdom during the year 2021.


In its report, GACA indicated that the certificates, licenses, and accreditations covered several areas, most notably the engineering accreditations for aircraft, technical airworthiness, commercial operation and aircraft repair stations, as well as the field of aircraft registration, review of licenses for technicians and inspectors' reports.


In this aspect, GACA seeks to develop the air transport industry in accordance with the latest systems in line with developments in the aviation industry at the international level. Further, it works to maintain the highest safety standards in the Kingdom, and to update laws and regulations in line with developments in the field of the aviation sector globally. GACA also issues and renews licenses, accreditations and certificates for the civil aviation industry in accordance with the laws and regulations, in addition to conducting regular inspection tours to monitor and ensure the highest possible levels of safety.


Meanwhile, to enhance the role of GACA as a legislator for the air transport industry in the Kingdom, and to ensure that the highest levels of safety are maintained with regard to the operation and maintenance of civil aircraft in accordance with international rules and recommendations; therefore the General Directorate of Airworthiness, an affiliate of the Aviation Standards Sector at GACA has been established, to be responsible for aircraft certification and engineering accreditation activities for aircraft, repair stations and technical training centers. This in addition to inspection and control campaigns on service providers to ensure the application of regulations and regulatory procedures related to airworthiness based on Annex VI and VIII of the Convention on International Civil Aviation known as the (Chicago Convention). Qualified employees work in this department to carry out the jobs. The specialization is commensurate with the size and scope of the current work.


The General Directorate of Airworthiness has several tasks, which includes: providing aircraft engineering accreditation services (type certificates, design change, supplemental type certificate, repair design approval, approving aircraft parts, technical specifications for aircraft parts). This in addition to providing technical support in the field of airworthiness, provide airworthiness certificates services for aircraft operated by air operators licensed by GACA, and accrediting stations and maintenance companies to work on civil aircraft registered in the Kingdom.  


The Airworthiness Engineering Department is responsible for complying with the safety regulations and standards of civil aircraft registered in the Kingdom with regard to aircraft designs, modifications and repairs. The work is classified into engineering accreditation projects according to the current scope of work, includes: acceptance of model certificates for aircraft and modifications to aircraft designs, issuance of supplemental model certificates, approval on repair designs, parts manufacturer approval (PMA), and technical standard orders (TSO). This in addition to providing engineering support to other departments responsible for air operators and aircraft maintenance stations that are licensed by GACA. These include issuing and updating regulations and requests for exemption, mandatory airworthiness instructions, aircraft maintenance and age of aircraft. Furthermore, licensing air operators and aircraft repair stations, and monitoring and inspection campaigns on them. This in addition to evaluating and approving technical references for the operation and maintenance of unmanned aircraft, developing international bilateral agreements in the field of aviation safety, and aviation investigations (if needed).


As for the mechanism of ensuring the airworthiness of aircraft, the first step is to obtain the type certificate for the aircraft, which is a document issued by the aircraft design country to identify the design and show that this design has met the appropriate airworthiness conditions in that country, where the specialists in the Airworthiness Engineering Department apply the approved procedures to accept such as these certificates are for aircraft manufactured in the member states of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for aircraft imported into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and whose owner, or air operator wishes to register them in the Kingdom.  Meanwhile, when an aircraft design needs to be modified, or repaired, the appropriate validity requirements must be complied with, and this is done through procedures approved by GACA.


Further, to ensure the continued airworthiness of aircrafts and their parts and to license air operators in the field of maintenance, according to the guidelines issued by ICAO, safety inspectors inspect aircraft to issue, renew, or airworthiness certificates, issue aircraft noise authorization certificate, evaluate and approve aircraft maintenance programs, and license operators. Airmen and aircraft repair stations, control and inspection campaigns and evaluation of equipment needed to conduct specific operations.


Among the tasks of the safety inspectors is the evaluation and issuance of export certificates in relation to the airworthiness of the aircraft, the evaluation and approval, or acceptance of the air operator’s manual to monitor maintenance for the air operator. This in addition to periodically review the airworthiness records for the aircraft listed in the Saudi civil aircraft registry to assess the need for its maintenance, condition, efficiency and speed of performance of the individuals performing the maintenance. Further, periodic and unannounced monitoring visits to certificate holders to monitor compliance with approved, or accepted procedures to obtain an accurate description of day-to-day operations as well as compliance with airworthiness requirements.


And within the framework of the inspection procedures, inspectors conducts periodic and unannounced monitoring the air operators’ aircraft that are subject to maintenance on the aircraft parking yard and in the hangar, and ensure the workflow in accordance with the air operator’s manual for maintenance control, the aircraft maintenance program, the maintenance organization’s procedures manual and the current technical data, and conducting periodic and unannounced monitoring of the air operators’ aircraft during operations to ensure that aircraft are airworthy. Issuance of guidance material with respect to practices and procedures in the field of airworthiness, and resolution of regulatory problems related to continuing airworthiness.


The airworthiness inspectors also propose amendments to the regulations as necessary, establish general and technical policies and procedures on the basis of which to establish and improve airworthiness requirements. Further, provide advice and make recommendations in the areas of responsibility of other civil aviation authorities, such as the detection and handling of dangerous goods and on other relevant technical issues. Furthermore, participation in the airworthiness aspect of aircraft accident investigations.

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