Flexible domestic fares expectedto attract new airline operators



RIYADH: ARAB NEWS

Published — Tuesday 18 December 2012

Last update 18 December 2012 4:22 pm

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The Council of Ministers yesterday approved a comprehensive strategic plan for the General Authority of Civil Aviation (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.
The plan includes development of GACA’s human resource and financial departments, airport infrastructure, air navigation system, airport security and airport project funding.
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.
Prince Fahd said GACA would prepare the ticket price guideline with the support of a consultancy firm after reviewing the true cost of operating domestic flights. He said the new measure would encourage airlines to operate more domestic flights.
He said companies vying for the new airline licenses requested that GACA revise economy class ticket prices and make them flexible, instead of present fixed prices.
The new ticket prices will take into consideration the current market and the Kingdom’s growing air transport industry.
At the end of the Cabinet meeting, Prince Salman thanked God for the quick recovery of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah following back surgery at King Abdul Aziz Medical City in Riyadh. The king, who enjoys good health, left hospital last Thursday.
The crown prince conveyed the king’s greetings and thanks to the Saudi people for their noble feelings toward him and sent his best wishes of constant good health for international leaders who inquired about his health.
The Cabinet also approved a number of measures regarding the sale of personal, retail and commercial properties.
The Cabinet welcomed the outcome of the fourth ministerial meeting of the Friends of Syria, which was held in the city of Marrakech, and hoped that the Syrian National Coalition would be able to form a comprehensive and clear perspective, which includes the rights of the Syrian people with all their ethnicities, groups and minorities.
The Cabinet authorized the foreign minister to discuss with his counterpart in Benin a draft agreement for cooperation between the two countries. The Cabinet appointed Abdullah bin Abdullatif Al-Saif as a member of the board of directors of General Organization for Social Insurance for three years.

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