Saudia carries 14 million passengers in six months

Updated 16 July 2014
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Saudia carries 14 million passengers in six months

Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) carried more than 14 million passengers on 94,000 flights during the first six months of this year, Acting Director General Abdul Aziz Al-Hazmi said on Tuesday. “During the same period we have achieved an on-time performance of 90.06 percent,” he said.
There was 11 percent increase in the number of passengers carried during the reporting period as it rose from 12,677,839 to 14,082,198. The number of flights operated by the airline during the period jumped by 8 percent from 87,389 to 94,069, he said.
Speaking about half yearly performance in the domestic sector, Al-Hazmi said Saudia carried 7.84 million passengers between the Kingdom’s cities against 7.41 million during the same period in 2013. It operated 59,404 domestic flights during the first half with an on-time performance of 90.83 percent.
Al-Hazmi highlighted the remarkable progress achieved by the domestic sector where the number of passengers grew by 5.8 percent and number of flights four percent compared to last year. “This reflects the success of our operation strategy, increasing flights between the major cities of Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Madinah and Abha,” he said.
Saudia has increased the number of its flights during the ongoing summer season to meet the needs of passengers and redistributed flights to different Saudi cities. “The domestic sector accounted for 67.89 percent of flights and 55.71 percent of passengers during the first half of 2014,” he pointed out.
On the international sector, Saudia carried 6.23 million passengers during the first half against 5.26 million during the same period in 2013, with an increase of 18.46 percent or 971,786 passengers. They were carried on 28,098 flights compared to 25,024 flights with an increase of 12 percent.
Al-Hazmi commended Saudia executives and employees for their hard work. “The remarkable increase in flights and passengers also came as a result of good planning, reducing the number of vacant seats. We have also increased the numbers of domestic and international flights,” he said.
He also underscored the success of the airline’s summer plan, adding that during the past month it carried a large number of passengers due to the peak Umrah season in Ramadan. “We have deployed senior executives at all major stations to supervise operations in the summer season.”
The airline has established special counters at all stations to take care of waitlisted passengers and met all requirements of operations, maintenance, catering, ground services and inflight services, he said.
“This good half yearly performance will have a positive impact on operations in the summer season, which continues until the end of August,” Al-Hazmi said. The arrival of new aircraft from Boeing and Airbus has played a big role in strengthening Saudia’s operations. The national flag carrier has received 74 of 90 state-of-the-art aircraft it had ordered from Airbus and Boeing.


Record budget spurs Saudi economy

The budget sets out to lift spending and cut the deficit. (Shutterstock)
Updated 19 December 2018
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Record budget spurs Saudi economy

  • “It is a growth-supportive budget with both capital and current expenditure set to rise.”
  • Government spending is projected to rise to SR 1.106 trillion

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced its biggest-ever budget — with spending set to increase by around 7 percent — in a move aimed at boosting the economy, while also reducing the deficit. 

However, analysts cautioned that the 2019 budget is based on oil prices far higher than today — which could prove an obstacle in hitting targets. 

Government spending is projected to rise to SR 1.106 trillion ($295 billion) next year, up from an actual SR 1.030 trillion this year, Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan said at a briefing in Riyadh. 

The budget estimates a 9 percent annual increase in revenues to SR 975 billion. The budget deficit is forecast at SR 131 billion for next year, a 4.2 percent decline on 2018.

“We believe that the 2019 fiscal budget will focus on supporting economic activity — investment and wider,” Monica Malik, chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), told Arab News.

“It is a growth-supportive budget with both capital and current expenditure set to rise.”

A royal decree by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, also announced on Tuesday, ordered the continuation of allowances covering the cost of living for civil sector employees for the new fiscal year.

“The continuation of the handout package will be positive for household consumption by nationals,” said Malik. “We expect to see some overall fiscal loosening in 2019, which should support a further gradual pickup in real non-oil GDP growth.”

World oil prices on Tuesday tumbled to their lowest levels in more than a year amid concerns over demand. Brent crude contracts fell to as low as $57.20 during morning trading.

Malik cautioned that the oil-price assumptions in the Saudi budget looked “optimistic.”

“We see the fiscal deficit widening in 2019, with the higher spending and forecast fall in oil revenue,” she told Arab News.

Jason Tuvey, an economist at London-based Capital Economics, agreed that the oil forecast was optimistic, but said this should not pose problems for government finances.

“The government seems to be expecting oil prices to average $80 (per barrel) next year,” he said. 

“In contrast, we think that oil prices will stay low and possibly fall a little further to $55 … On that basis, the budget deficit is likely to be closer to 10 percent of GDP. That won’t cause too many problems given the government’s strong balance sheet. 

“Overall, then, we think that there will be some fiscal loosening in the first half of next year, but if oil prices stay low as we expect, the authorities will probably shift tack and return to austerity from the mid-2019, which will weigh on growth in the non-oil sector,” Tuvey said.

John Sfakianakis, chief economist at the Gulf Research Center, based in Saudi Arabia, said that the targets of the budget were “achievable” and the forecast oil price reasonable. 

“It is an expansionary budget that should spurt private sector activity and growth,” he said. 

“With Brent crude averaging around $68 per barrel for 2018 and $66 per barrel for 2019, the authorities have applied a conservative revenue scenario.”