KSA eyes higher altitude with airports’ privatization

KSA eyes higher altitude with airports’ privatization
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KSA eyes higher altitude with airports’ privatization
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Updated 07 January 2016

KSA eyes higher altitude with airports’ privatization

KSA eyes higher altitude with airports’ privatization

RIYADH: Foreign companies will be allowed to invest in Saudi Arabian airports being privatized without the need for local partners, General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) announced on Tuesday.
Local investments in some airports will be capped at 25 percent to ensure foreign operators have a majority holding in operating contracts, Faisal Al-Sugair, vice-chairman of GACA, said.
The Kingdom plans to privatize its international and domestic airports by 2020, GACA officials said at a news conference. As part of the process, some would first be “corporatized” — restructured to operate like a company while remaining state owned, the officials said.
“All international companies, operators, who are qualified, can participate ... there is no requirement for a local partner, that’s up to the companies,” Al-Sugair said.
Riyadh’s King Khaled International Airport will shift to a corporate structure in the first quarter of 2016, Al-Sugair said. However, the airport’s new Terminal 5 will be run as a concession by Dublin Airport Authority before the rest of the airport is itself privatized, he said.
An international operator will run a concession for the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Al-Sugair said, adding that GACA is preparing a shortlist of bidders.
Dammam’s King Fahd International Airport will be corporatized in the third quarter of 2017, before being privatized, GACA officials said.
IFC is advising GACA on the privatization of King Abdulaziz International Airport, as well as the new Taif Airport, aimed for pilgrims.
The regulator first announced privatization plans, which include air traffic control and information technology units, in November.
Meanwhile, the Saudi aviation industry would be unaffected by the ban on flights to Iran, said a GACA official. The official told Arab News that there were only four flights to Iran operating from Dammam to Mashhad weekly.