All Saudi airports to be privatized this year

A file photo of King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh.
Updated 09 August 2017
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All Saudi airports to be privatized this year

JEDDAH: All Saudi airports will be privatized this year, the head of the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA), Abdul Hakim Al-Tamimi, told Aleqtesadiah 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).
The aim “is to improve the level of services provided to passengers, and to convert the targeted sectors into a profitable center to cover costs and to be a source of income for the owner,” Al-Tamimi said, adding that the privatization 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.
“GACA will be the regulator and controller of the aviation sector in the next phase, in the event of concluding the privatization process,” he said.
Saudi Arabia has hired Goldman Sachs to manage the sale of a stake in King Khalid International Airport, the first major privatization of an airport in the Kingdom, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The sources said the Saudi Civil Aviation Holding Co. plans to sell a minority stake in the airport, without disclosing a timeframe for th sale.
The size and estimated value of the stake were not immediately known, but the airport is Saudi Arabia’s second-largest after Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz International Airport.
Faisal Al-Suqair, chairman of the Saudi Civil Aviation Holding Co., said the conversion of airports to companies is the first step in the privatization of airports.
“These airports, after being transferred to companies, will be re-arranged to operate on a commercial basis and become more efficient practically and financially before they are privatized,” he said.


Saudi Arabia says deposits $250 million into Sudan's Central Bank: statement

Updated 36 min 9 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia says deposits $250 million into Sudan's Central Bank: statement

  • Saudi Arabia and UAE pledged to send $3 billion worth of aid to Sudan
  • The remaining amount will be allocated to meet the urgent needs of the Sudanese people

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it deposited $250 million with the Sudanese central bank, according to a statement from the Kingdom’s ministry of finance.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE pledged to send $3 billion worth of aid to Sudan, after mass protests led to the ouster of president Omar al-Bashir last month.

The move will strengthen Sudan’s “financial position, alleviate pressure on the Sudanese pound and achieve more stability in the exchange rate," the statement said.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have deposited now $500 million into Sudan’s Central Bank, the first instalment of the joint package of aid.

The remaining amount will be allocated to meet the urgent needs of the Sudanese people, including food, medications and oil derivatives.

Mohammed Abdullah Al-Jadaan, Minister of Finance, confirmed that this deposit constitutes an extension of the Kingdom’s support to the Sudanese people.

He added that this support will strengthen the financial and economic situation in Sudan, especially the exchange rate of the Sudanese pound, which should reflect positively on the living conditions of the Sudanese citizens.