Saudia to be transformed into a holding company in 5 years

1 / 2
2 / 2
Updated 26 February 2013
0

Saudia to be transformed into a holding company in 5 years

Saudi Arabian Airlines will be transformed into a holding company within five years, said Khaled Al-Molhem, its director general.
He also disclosed plans to privatize five new companies affiliated to the organization.
Al-Molhem said the airline would continue to provide discounted tickets to students and military officers.
Saudia will privatize the Saudi Aerospace Engineering Industries, Prince Sultan Aviation Academy and the Real Estate Development Company.
Al-Molhem noted Saudia flights did not register any accidents since 1996.
He welcomed new operators in the Kingdom’s domestic sector, saying it would improve competition and benefit travelers. “Domestic flights account for 67 percent of Saudia’s total flights,” he said.
He said Saudia has already privatized its catering, cargo and ground service divisions. The catering company has sold 30 percent of its shares in an initial public offering.
“The catering company supplied 28 million meals to 59 airline companies last year,” Al-Molhem said.
Saudia’s Cargo company has 12 wide-bodied aircraft, offering its services to countries around the world.
The Ground Services company handles more than 56 million passengers annually. There are more than 5,000 employees in the Saudi Aerospace Engineering Industries and 90 percent of them are Saudis.
“We are planning to invest SR 3.5 billion in the maintenance sector and we’ll become the largest aircraft maintenance center in the region once the new project is completed,” Al-Molhem said, adding that the company would employ 5,000 more workers in the coming years.
He said Saudia purchased 84 new aircraft from Airbus and Boeing in recent years to modernize its domestic and international fleet network.
Al-Molhem highlighted the airline’s efforts to train Saudi graduates to become pilots and air crew, providing them with training at Prince Sultan Aviation Academy and sending them for higher studies abroad on King Abdullah Scholarship.
“There is no study or decision on canceling the 50 percent discount provided on tickets of students, military officers and other special groups of travelers. We have been following this pricing system during the last 17 years and there is no plan to cancel it in the near future,” the director general said.
He said the total number of passengers carried by Saudia increased to more than 24 million in 2012 against 16 million in 2006.


Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will patronize the launch of the Qiddiya Project

Updated 24 April 2018
0

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will patronize the launch of the Qiddiya Project

  • Qiddiya Project is the new entertainment, sports and cultural destination in the Kingdom
  • The first phase will be completed by 2022

RIYADH: Saudi King Salman will launch the construction of an “entertainment city” near Riyadh Wednesday, authorities said, part of a series of multi-billion dollar projects as the Kingdom seeks to diversity its oil-reliant economy.
The 334-square kilometer project in Qiddiya, southwest of Riyadh, would rival Walt Disney and include high-end theme parks, motor sport facilities and a safari park, officials say.
The facility highlights a “relentless effort to develop giga-projects that will help achieve many direct and indirect economic returns,” project official Fahd bin Abdullah Tounsi was quoted as saying in a government statement on Monday.
Qiddiya chief executive Michael Reininger said he expects the project will draw foreign investors in entertainment and other sectors, but did not specify the total cost of construction.
Such projects are the brainchild of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a self-styled liberal change agent who is the chief architect of the sweeping “Vision 2030” reform program.
Saudi Arabia has dazzled investors with several plans for hi-tech “giga projects,” funded in part by its sovereign wealth fund, but some skeptics question their viability in an era of cheap oil.
The Kingdom has unveiled blueprints to build NEOM, a mega project billed as a regional Silicon Valley, in addition to the Red Sea project, a reef-fringed resort destination — both worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Analysts say the projects could create funding pressures at a time when the government faces a yawning budget deficit and growth in the Kingdom’s non-oil economy is only slowly gathering pace.
The reform stems partly from an economic motive to boost domestic spending on entertainment as the Kingdom has been reeling from an oil slump since 2014.
Saudis currently splurge billions of dollars annually to see films and visit amusement parks in neighboring tourist hubs like Dubai and Bahrain.
In February, Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) announced it will stage more than 5,000 festivals and concerts in 2018, double the number of last year, and pump $64 billion in the sector in the coming decade.