Saudia ignores Saudi pilots, opts for foreigners: Shoura

Updated 17 January 2014

Saudia ignores Saudi pilots, opts for foreigners: Shoura

The strong presence of foreign pilots in Saudi Arabian Airlines, estimated at 25 percent of the total pilots operating in the Kingdom, has come for sharp criticism from Shoura Council members.
Abdullah Al-Harbi, a member of the Council, said the airline had failed to capitalize on the large Saudi pilots’ workforce in the past 10 years, despite the fact that the airline had added new aircraft to upgrade its fleet. “This resulted in a glut of assistant pilots numbering over 700, of whom 250 are ready to be promoted to the post of captains following completion of requirements,” he said.
Instead of training Saudi pilots and promoting them, he said the airlines recruited 210 pilots of different nationalities. “The number of foreign pilots does not augur well for a company which has been around for 60 years, but yet, failed to achieve the goal of nationalization of jobs,” he argued.
His argument is that the company spends time, money and effort on training foreign pilots, and after they qualify and gain experience using Saudi funds, they leave the job to work for other airlines. “The downside of this is that the Saudis are denied the chance to be promoted,” he added.
Another Shoura member Said Mariq said the report of Saudi Arabian Airlines does not reflect indicators that the Council aspires for. “The spin-off is that the airlines following the privatization process, has established eight companies. What is the role played by these subsidiaries in supporting the parent company?” asked Mariq.
Mariq revealed that the revenues of the company stood at SR19 billion against a SR21 billion expenditure, clearly indicating a deficit in its budget.
Abdulrahman Al-Rashid, another Shoura member, demanded that the company provide detailed financial statement to the council, while another member, Atta Al-Subaiti, wondered why the airline was placed at the 87th in the list of top airliners of the world in 2012.

US court orders Iran to pay $879 million to 1996 Khobar bombing survivors

Updated 10 July 2020

US court orders Iran to pay $879 million to 1996 Khobar bombing survivors

  • The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material for the attack
  • The Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia were housing US forces when it was bombed in 1996

DUBAI: A United States federal court held Iran responsible for the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia where US forces were housed, and ordered Tehran to pay $879 million to survivors. 

The Khobar Towers was a housing complex in the eastern city of Khobar, near the Abdulaziz Air Base and Saudi Aramco’s headquarters in Dhahran, that housed American servicemen working on Operation Southern Watch.

A truck bomb was detonated on June 25, 1996, near an eight-story building of the housing complex, which killed 19 US Air Force personnel and a Saudi national and wounded 498 others.

The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material support to Hezbollah who detonated the 5,000-pound truck bomb, a Chicago law firm press release said. The attackers reportedly smuggled the explosives used in the attack from Lebanon. 

The lawsuit was brought under the terrorism exception of the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act by the 14 injured US airmen and 21 of their immediate family members.

The defendants in the case were listed as the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security.



“We will continue to seek to hold the Government of Iran accountable for this terrorist attack as long as is necessary,” said Adora Sauer, the lead attorney of MM LAW LLC.

US District Judge Beryl A. Howell found the defendants liable and awarded the plaintiffs $132 million for pain and suffering, as well as prejudgment interest, for a total compensatory damage award of $747 million and $132 million for punitive damages.

The court also said the plaintiffs are eligible for partial payments from the US Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, which compensates American victims of acts of international terrorism with funds obtained from fines and forfeitures levied against companies caught illegally laundering money for sanctioned countries and persons. 

The attorneys also intend to pursue enforcement of the judgments through litigation intended to seize Iranian assets.

“The physical and psychological toll on our families has been extremely high, but this judgment is welcome news. More than 20 years on, we want the world to remember the evil that Iran did at the Khobar Towers. Through the work of our attorneys, we intend to do just that,” said Glenn Christie, a retired Air Force staff sergeant crew chief who was severely injured in the bombing.

“The massive explosion took so much from their minds and bodies on the day of the attack in 1996 and every day and night since then. They can now live with that balance justice provides,” according to John Urquhart of the Urquhart Law Firm, who also represents the bombing victims.