King Faisal Airport in Jeddah

All Saudi Airports to be Privatised This Year: Report

Jeddah: All Saudi airports will be privatised this year, the head of the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA), Abdul Hakim Al-Tamimi, according to a report appeared in an Arabic daily.

GACA’s privatization strategy aims to transfer all Saudi airports to companies wholly owned by the Saudi Civil Aviation Holding Co., then transfer ownership of the holding company to the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Al-Tamimi said that the aim is to improve the level of services provided to passengers, and to convert the targeted sectors into a profitable centre to cover costs and to be a source of income for the owner. He added that the privatisation will be implemented via three methods.

The first relates to the transfer of an airport to a company, similar to what is happening at King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh, where a minority holding is sold. Then an airport board of directors is formed that has powers in the management of the company.

The second method is operation and maintenance, similar to what happened at the new King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah.

GACA will bear the capital cost of establishing the project, and will share the income with investors.

The third method is the BTO (build, operate and transfer) system, such as what was done with Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Airport in Madinah, and with Taif, Hail, Qassim and Yanbu airports, which signed contracts with investors.

The employees will be transferred to the investor’s responsibility, who bears the capital cost of the project and shares the income with the authority.

The head of GACA said the privatization will be completed in stages and in the form of groups.