RIYADH: Airlines are being asked to apply for carrier licenses to operate out of King Fahd International Airport in Dammam in a further boost to Saudi Arabia’s aviation industry.
The licenses will be issued for domestic as well as international flights from the airport, as the Kingdom aims to elevate its competitiveness in the aviation market as well as boost the quality of services provided to travelers.
Companies interested in acquiring licenses can apply through official letters addressed to the General Authority for Civil Aviation.
The winning firms can choose the domestic routes from KFIA to other airports in the Kingdom, and they will also be able to operate global flights in accordance with the international agreements concluded by GACA.
The step falls in line with the aviation sector’s goal of serving 330 million passengers and covering more than 250 international destinations by 2030.
In March, KFIA was named the best regional airport in the Middle East for the second year running by the international air transport organization Skytrax, which released the rankings for the world’s top 100 airports for 2023.
It jumped six places from 2022 to become the world’s 44th best, while other Saudi airports also saw their rankings improve.
Operated and managed by Dammam Airports Co., KFIA opened for operations in October 1999 and is currently the third-largest international airport in the Kingdom in terms of passenger volume. It handles more than 10 million passengers every year, with 37 airlines catering to 43 destinations, according to its website.
In March, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the creation of a new national airline “Riyadh Air,” as the Kingdom steps up its aviation industry ambitions.
Wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund, the new airline is chaired by PIF Gov. Yasir Al-Rumayyan while Tony Douglas has been appointed its CEO.
In the wake of that announcement, Saudi Arabia agreed a $37 billion deal with US firm Boeing for the manufacture of up to 121 aircraft to help get the Kingdom’s new airline off the ground.
The deal will see Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes, fitted with General Electric engines, delivered to Saudi Arabia, with 72 of them set for the newly announced Riyadh Air carrier.