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Near & Middle East Titles:
GCC States: National Development Records: Civil Aviation 1920–1962, The
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ISBN: (13) 978-1-85207-477-7
Extent: 8 volumes, 5,500 pages

Editor: A. Burdett 
ISBN: (10) 1-85207-477-9
Published: 1994
Paper: Printed on acid free paper
Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish
See sample pages: not available

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As part of the three set series on the development of the GCC states this set contains documented evidence for the origins and expansion of civil aviation services within the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia in the formative years of the 20th century.

The coming of air transport to the remote Gulf and desert emirates has been a factor in the twentieth century transformation of an older way of life. Accordingly Archive Editions has prepared a research collection in 8 volumes from British government records on the origins of civil aviation in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The documents tracing the early days of civil aviation in the Gulf region provide much new material on geographical, tribal, political and diplomatic aspects of Arab history. Correspondence and reports on routes and landing fields are of local historical interest, [note : unless otherwise indicated, agreements are with Britain].

The records reflect the relative independence and strength of Saudi Arabia from the 1920s, when Ibn Saud sought training facilities for his Hijazi air force, through to World War II and the Saudi-US agreement over the Dhahran air base. The end of World War II saw a rapid growth in international regulatory bodies and the affirmation of sovereign control by the Gulf States over their airspace.
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Historical Overview

This collection covers the six GCC states. However, material on Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the UAE (formerly the Trucial States) is of a different kind than the records on Saudi Arabia, reflecting the early independence and greater resources of the Saudi Kingdom. In fact Britain devoted much effort to negotiating overflying rights of Nejd and Hejaz territory and securing a landing ground in al-Hasa. It was the selection of the Arab coast route to India which reflected Britain´s close relationship with the Gulf emirates and which shows, through the documents, the development of political and commercial influence in the region.

The pre-war period showed how routes were established and agreements made with Arab rulers, with most aviation matters under British Administration. However, the years after the war saw the rise of international regulatory bodies and the origins of the national airlines of the Arab states. 

"... every state has complete and exclusive sovereignty over airspace above its territory." [The 1944 Chicago Convention on Civil Aviation, article 1.] There are strong parallels between the evolution of civil aviation in the Gulf states and the development of oil resources; the same process of reconnaissance and evaluation; similar stages of negotiation and compromise leading to concession agreements and treaties. The results of the expansion of civil aviation were similar too: the opening of trade and transport links between the Arab rulers and the West also accompanied the ripening of Arab independence.
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Documentary Importance

Material is organised into pre- and post-World War II groups. Documents relating to specific territories are organised by country, while material on overall policy and planning is found in general sections.

Technical material on airport construction, etc has been omitted. The emphasis throughout is on strategic and sovereignty issues; on reconnaissance and route planning; negotiations leading to agreements and regulations; relations with Arab rulers.
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Arrangement of volumes

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Contents Outline

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Key documents

Historical events and episodes of special interest included within these volumes:

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Editor's Introduction

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Related Titles:
Arab Gulf Cities
GCC States: National Development Records: Communications & Transport 1860–1960, The
GCC States: National Development Records: Defence in the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia 1920–1960, The
Middle East Intelligence Handbooks 1943–1946
Military Handbooks of Arabia 1913–1917
Neglected Arabia / Arabia Calling 1892–1962
Oil Concessions in Five Arab States 1911–1953: Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Trucial States and Oman
OPEC: Origins and Strategy 1947–1973
Persian Gulf Historical Summaries 1907–1953, The
Political Diaries of the Arab World: Persian Gulf 1904–1965
Treaties and Engagements Relating to Arabia and the Persian Gulf
Water Resources in the Arabian Peninsula 1921–1960