The renaissance of Saudi aviation



JEDDAH: DIANA AL-JASSEM

Published — Sunday 30 December 2012

Last update 30 December 2012 4:10 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

With the entry of new airlines, a tough competition is expected in Saudi Arabian domestic and international flight operations.
Qatar Airways and Gulf Air and its associates have been selected as the new airline companies to operate domestic and international services to and from Saudi Arabia. This decision was announced Friday and will be implemented within the next six months.
Currently there are only two airlines operating in the Kingdom. They are the state-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) and low-cost carrier National Air Services (NAS). The country’s third carrier, Sama Airlines, ceased operation last year as talks with the government failed to yield a commitment to support the company. Nesma Airlines also operates flights from Saudi cities to many popular destinations in Egypt, like Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada, Marsa Alam, Luxor and Alexandria.
Tourism experts welcomed the new decision aiming to see a change in the services in Saudi aviation.
Faisal Al-Turki, vice president of Nesma Airlines, said that such a decision is very healthy to promote the aviation sector in Saudi Arabia and boost the standards in domestic flights.
“Qatar Airways and Gulf Air have presented a very good offer, which is why they got the licenses. I expect the new airlines to attract more passengers than the current airlines like Saudia. Saudia will still give a special offer to students, and workers in the military sector, so these passengers might keep traveling with Saudia to enjoy these special offers,” he said.
Nesma Airlines was one of the companies that competed in the selection process and ranked third.
“We tried our best to start operating domestic flights, but we were unlucky in getting the licenses. We will keep trying by presenting better services. To boost our service and expand it in Saudi Arabia, we will start operating flights from Ahsa, Jouf, and Baha to several cities in Egypt,” he said.
Bader Al-Hokair, CEO at Al-Hokair Group, said that the Saudi market is big enough to receive more aviation companies.
“This step will increase the number of flights and decrease chances of overcrowding, especially in the pilgrimage seasons and summer,” he said.
“I don’t think that passengers will abandon the current available airlines, as the market is too big and more airlines can join.”
Al-Hokair expects domestic tourism will increase, especially when passengers have been suffering from overcrowded domestic flights for a long time.
Mohammed Shams, economist, said the entrance of new airlines would fuel the competition, raise the present standard and reduce prices.
“We are expecting a tough competition that will create a new aviation market with special standards.
For a long time, Saudia monopolized the Saudi aviation market, which led to a stable service and fixed prices. This is unhealthy for the Saudi tourism or local economy,” he said.
Shams added: “New laws will emerge in the Saudi aviation market due the entrance of new airlines.”
He believed Saudia would have to rethink its service levels, and reduce its prices.
“I know that the Council of Ministers imposes the prices, but Saudia will notice a decrease in the rate of passengers, which is why they will be forced to reduce the prices. In Europe there was an airline that dominated the market. When new airlines entered the European market, the company collapsed,” he said.
Shams would expect more tourism agencies to join the Saudi market. “We might see new GCC travel agencies offer special services. Travel agencies will also present new packages with special prices, which will definitely activate the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: A Saudi citizen was killed in shelling fired across the border from Yemen into the southwest of Saudi Arabia on Sunday, local media reported.A shell fell on a house around dawn in Najran province, civil defense department spokesman Ali bin Om...
JEDDAH: Female voters in Al-Ahsa have urged the authorities handling the municipal elections to drop the condition of presenting the national identity card while enrolling themselves in the voters’ list. Some women in Madinah too have appealed for mo...
JEDDAH: After the recent incident of a rat eating from a bowl at a well-known food outlet in a Jeddah mall came to light, residents have called for food hygiene ratings of restaurants and roadside eateries across the city.Although the municipality wo...
JEDDAH: A muezzin (one who recites the Adhaan) of a Riyadh mosque recently sprung a surprise in the Austrian tourist town of Zell am See by his Adhaan after taking permission from members of a musical band.Social media is abuzz with the news and vide...
RIYADH: A Sri Lankan national, who works as a cleaner in the Kingdom, was commended and rewarded by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) for returning a bag containing gold to its owner.“Prince Sultan bin Salman, president o...
RIYADH: Bangladesh State Minister for Foreign Affairs Mohammed Shahriar Alam arrived in Jeddah on Sunday to meet with his Saudi counterpart Nizar Madani on Monday.On arrival at the royal terminal, the minister was received by Director General of the...
RIYADH: A report of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage predicts the rate of growth in job opportunities in the country's tourism sector between 2010 and 2020 will be 10 percent a year as compared to a global growth rate of 2.5 per...
JEDDAH: Two million meningitis vaccines have been distributed among health centers in 20 governorates and provinces across the Kingdom for domestic Haj pilgrims.It is mandatory for all pilgrims to be vaccinated against meningitis and for those coming...
RIYADH: Some 1,500 certified documents with proper identity are issued on average to Yemenis from the Jazan region daily. More than 400,000 Yemenis have corrected their residency status from all parts of the Kingdom.The announcement was made during a...
JEDDAH: The Makkah governorate has announced four new road projects linking Makkah and Jeddah. The new roads will facilitate smoother and faster travel between the cities.An estimated 35 million people will benefit from the projects, which will inclu...
JEDDAH: A major disaster is waiting to happen in the fish market of Madinah because of the callous attitude of traders toward handling of gas cylinders. A visit to the market presents a dreadful picture of cylinders kept on top of each other without...
JEDDAH: Information and Culture Minister Adel Al-Toraifi has approved the appointment of Khalid Bo-Ali as editor in chief of the Eastern Province-based Alsharq Arabic newspaper. He was nominated for the post by the board of directors of the newspaper...
JEDDAH: Jamil Farsi, head of the Gold and Jewelry Committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), says he expects 3,000 job opportunities to be created for Saudi women in the jewelry design and gold sector across the Kingdom, with ab...
JEDDAH: More than 50 visually challenged people successfully performed Umrah with the help of the Ebsar Foundation for the Visually Impaired and the Ambassadors of Volunteers organization under their program “Umrah for the visually impaired,” which w...
JEDDAH: Although the Ministry of Labor is opening its doors to receive complaints from private sector employees, many Saudi females employed in cosmetic and perfume shops in Madinah are not making complaints about being overworked due to fear of losi...

Stay Connected

Facebook