Domestic air fares to go up 10%

Updated 21 December 2012
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Domestic air fares to go up 10%

Investors in the aviation sector expect a 10 percent increase in air ticket prices on domestic routes in the Kingdom following the new air ticket regulations approved by the Council of Ministers last Monday.
“We expect a 10 percent rise in ticket prices in the first phase when the new regulations are applied and prices will go up further at later stages,” said Nasser Al-Tayyar, managing director and CEO of Al-Tayyar Group.
He said the Cabinet decision to revise jet fuel prices would definitely reduce the operation cost of airlines. “This will create greater competition among airlines and encourage more investment in the sector,” he told Al-Eqtisadiah Arabic daily.
Al-Tayyar said fair competition would lead to the success of the Kingdom’s aviation market. He called for bringing Saudi Arabian Airlines’ domestic flights under a separate company for the benefit of passengers.
Faisal Al-Turki, vice president of Nesma Airlines, said jet fuel prices in the Kingdom were 30 percent higher than in some airports of other countries in the region. “The decision to review the fuel prices will increase profits of aviation companies,” he added.
Al-Turki said lower jet fuel prices would enable airlines to operate their flights at a reasonable cost. “An increase in ticket prices will enable airlines to extend better services to passengers,” he pointed out. It will also pave the way for the development of the Kingdom’s aviation sector. Mohsen Al-Najjar, an economist and air transport specialist, commended the Cabinet for giving more powers to the General Authority of Civil Aviation to fix air ticket prices and improve airport services. He emphasized the need for airline companies operating domestic flights to control their expenditure.
“There is no point in some companies operating wide-bodied aircraft to operate domestic flights and ask passengers to share the cost of its expenditure,” he said.
Al-Najjar said the decision to cut jet fuel prices would benefit the Kingdom as more airlines would be encouraged to fill their aircraft with fuel from Saudi airports.
Last Monday, the Saudi Cabinet approved a comprehensive strategic plan for GACA, including plans to upgrade the Kingdom’s airport facilities and increase domestic ticket prices.
The Cabinet, chaired by Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, approved a committee to revise fuel prices at Saudi airports, said Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja.
The minister said: “GACA will be enabled to practice its responsibilities and specializations to manage and operate airports,” adding the authority would establish a guideline for ticket prices.
“GACA will prepare the ticket price guideline in coordination with the Ministry of Finance, and it will replace the current price system,” he said.
Under the new plan, GACA will expand operations at the Kingdom’s airports with participation from national and international corporations.
Prince Fahd bin Abdullah, president of GACA, thanked the Cabinet for approving the plan. He said the ticket price guideline referred to economy class tickets on domestic routes in the Kingdom, adding they would be based on prices fixed by the government.
“The price of economy tickets will stay the same until a change is announced at a later date,” the prince said, adding there has been no change in economy class ticket prices for a long time.


EXCLUSIVE: Saudi singer-songwriter Tamtam releases music video ahead of historic end to driving ban

Updated 22 June 2018
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EXCLUSIVE: Saudi singer-songwriter Tamtam releases music video ahead of historic end to driving ban

  • Singer-songwriter Tamtam has released a music video to coincide with the day her fellow countrywomen make history
  • In an exclusive interview with Arab News, the LA-based musician said she hopes the song inspires women to see that with patience and perseverance anything can happen. 

JEDDAH: With the long-awaited day when Saudi women can finally drive drawing near, a Saudi singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles has written a song to mark the historic occasion.

Called simply “Drive,” Tamtam’s take on the breakthrough reform covers a range of emotions: Happiness, pride and even surprise.

Millions around the world shared the news that Saudi women would be allowed to drive when it was announced last fall, and with all the preparations taking place, the singer wanted to take part in the best way she could. So she wrote the lyrics to a song that mirrored the exciting events ahead.

Tamtam’s release focuses on the themes of freedom, equality and empowerment that she has explored in her music since the start of her career in 2012.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, the LA-based musician said she hopes the song inspires women to see that with patience and perseverance anything can happen. 

“If I had to use one word to describe the feeling, it would be hope. Women in Saudi are ready to have a bigger voice and become more independent.

“This is a huge step forward for all of us. The country is showing us that they know we are ready, and they are here to support us and help launch us forward,” said Tamtam. 

Her song’s lyrics include the words: “We know what we want, we know it’s our time, let go of past perceptions, tomorrow is mine, we got drive” — suggesting that it’s time to look forward and stop looking back at what once was.

The verse mirrors the narrative many Saudis are sharing with the world, empowered by the dramatic changes Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is accomplishing with Vision 2030 and beyond. 

Tamtam, inspired by the late Michael Jackson, started singing aged 15. She wrote her first single, “Little Girl,” while attending high school in California after her family moved to the US from Riyadh. Her singing and songwriting have been influenced by events around her, always related to current issues with a twist of optimism. 

Whether it’s her strong vocals or hauntingly beautiful voice, Tamtam’s music transcends expectations. This young Saudi is singing and making a name for herself in the City of Angels, and her positive energy is reflected in her music.

As Saudis embrace a host of reforms, Tamtam believes many Westerners are shocked by the news. Yet people forget that Saudi is a relatively young country and more good changes will come, she said. 

“With hope comes more aspirations, dreams, new achievements and positive energy.”

The “Drive” video is uplifting, with playful, artistic imagery, and soulful and empowering vocals. The singer and her friends wear white, representing peace and femininity, and drive a yellow Ford Mustang convertible (Tamtam’s dream car). 

“Whenever I’m in a car, especially if there is traffic or it’s a long drive, I always turn on music to put me in a better mood. Driving is so much more enjoyable with music,” said Tamtam. “I hope that this song will be blasting through car speakers everywhere.” 

So the question is: Will Tamtam get her Saudi license, too?

“Yes, I can’t wait,” is the answer, obviously.