All Saudi airports to be privatized this year

A file photo of King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh.
Updated 09 August 2017

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.

King Salman urges Iran to junk its expansionist ideology

Updated 21 November 2019

King Salman urges Iran to junk its expansionist ideology

  • Saudi Arabia has suffered from the policies and practices of the Iranian regime and its proxies, king says
  • Kingdom also welcomed US decision to return Iran's Fordow nuclear facility to its sanctions list

RIYADH: Iran should abandon its expansionist ideology that has only “harmed” its own people, Saudi Arabia's King Salman said on Wednesday, following violent street protests in the Islamic republic.

A wave of demonstrations erupted in the sanctions-hit country on Friday after an announcement that petrol prices would be raised by as much as 200 percent with immediate effect.

“We hope the Iranian regime chooses the side of wisdom and realizes there is no way to overcome the international position that rejects its practices, without abandoning its expansionist and destructive thinking that has harmed its own people,” the king told the consultative Shoura Council.

“The kingdom has suffered from the policies and practices of the Iranian regime and its proxies,” King Salman said, quoted by the foreign ministry, reiterating that Riyadh does not seek war but is “ready to defend its people.”

A satellite image from Sept. 15, 2017, of the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran. (Google Earth)

Saudi Arabia has welcomed Washington's decision to return the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran to the sanctions list. 

Washington said on Monday that it will no longer waive sanctions related to Iran’s Fordow nuclear plant after Tehran resumed uranium enrichment at the underground site. 

“The right amount of uranium enrichment for the world’s largest state sponsor of terror is zero ... There is no legitimate reason for Iran to resume enrichment at this previously clandestine site,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters earlier this week.