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.


Joint Incidents Assessment Team 'abides by transparency' in Yemen

Updated 8 min 36 sec ago
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Joint Incidents Assessment Team 'abides by transparency' in Yemen

  • JIAT spokesman said the team is transparent in the way it announces its results for incidents in Yemen

RIYADH: The spokesman of the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) in Yemen, legal consultant Mansour Bin Ahmed Al-Mansour, has stressed that the team abides by transparency in announcing the results of engagement in Yemen.

Al-Mansour was speaking on Tuesday at a press conference at King Salman Air Base in Riyadh assessing  incidents. 

The cases included an incident in Malh Town where Human Rights on Yemen stated that on Feb. 18, 2016, during the intensity of combat, a family tried to leave and Coalition Forces targeted the vehicle, causing the death of nine family members and their relatives, injuring three.

JIAT investigations revealed that the target was located 1,600 meters from the coordinate given by the National Commission, and after reviewing the daily mission schedule, JIAT found that there was no air mission on the village of Malh. 

It was also claimed that the Coalition Air Forces on Nov. 10, 2017 targeted the ministry of defense and the fall of a missile on Alsa’adi neighborhood next to the ministry injured 23 civilians. JIAT found that there was a gathering of high-level Houthi leaders inside the building so considered it a legitimate military target. 

On Feb 2, 2018 an airstrike on a target 500 meters away from the warehouse of the UNHCR in Sa’dah city caused damage to the warehouse and injured the guard. JIAT found that the Coalition Air Forces targeted a legitimate military target (a leader from the Houthi armed militia). 

Coalition Forces on March 31, 2015 targeted the national cement factory in Lahj, causing the death of at least 10 people and injuring at least 13 others. JIAT found that the target was 360 meters away from generators and the production line, and was not aimed at the operational infrastructure. JIAT found that the procedures of the coalition in targeting the weapons, ammunition warehouse and AAA inside the factory were in accordance with international humanitarian law.

Al-Mansour announced the findings of investigations into the Radfan water factory north of Lahj governorate. JIAT found that intelligence stated that it was used for weapons storage and as a meeting place for hostile elements and was considered a legitimate military target.

JIAT looked at a High Commissioner for Human Rights report that stated that on Aug. 7, 2016, Coalition Forces carried out two airstrikes on a residential and commercial building in Sana’a, causing the death of 16 civilians including seven children and a woman, and injuring 24 others. JIAT found that Coalition Forces did not target the buildings and confirmed that the procedures of the coalition in targeting the truck were in accordance with international humanitarian law. 

Human Rights Watch stated that on Feb. 14, 2016, Coalition Air Forces targeted the Middle East Tailoring and Embroidery Factory in Sana’a city, causing the death of one laborer and injuring three others. 

JIAT found that on Feb. 13, 2016, intelligence received by the Coalition Forces indicated there were meetings of Houthi armed leaders in a hanger in Sana’a that had been used as an embroidery factory before being controlled by the militia.

Regarding reports by international organizations about a civilian boat being attacked by a military ship on March 16, 2017, the boat arrived about 30 nautical miles from Alhudaydah port and was intercepted by a military ship that claimed to belong to the Coalition Forces and opened fire. Passengers signaled that they were civilians but the ship opened fire with a submachine gun, and a helicopter took off from the attacking ship and opened fire, causing the death of 33 people, injuring 29. 

JIAT found Coalition Forces did not target the refugee boat for several reasons, including that the shooting on the boat was horizontal, making it impossible for it to come from a helicopter, and the size of the weapon used showed the marks of small-caliber fire, not medium or large caliber.