KSA eyes higher altitude with airports’ privatization

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Updated 07 January 2016

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.

Wait is almost over for music fans eager to learn who will headline E-Prix concerts

Updated 13 November 2019

Wait is almost over for music fans eager to learn who will headline E-Prix concerts

  • Organizers promise this year’s line-up of international stars at Diriyah event will be bigger than ever

RIYADH: The first of the major international music acts that will perform at the Diriyah E-Prix this month will be announced on Wednesday.

There were incredible scenes at the event last year when David Guetta, One Republic, the Black Eyed Peas, Amr Diab, Enrique Iglesias and Jason Derulo rocked the UNESCO World Heritage site. About 40,000 fans flocked to the Diriyah Circuit, on the outskirts of Riyadh, for the after-race concerts, the first unsegregated music events in Saudi Arabia

The stage is set for even bigger and better things this year, with the promise of another two nights of unmissable music on Nov. 22 and 23 as the E-Prix racing returns.

“If you were one of the 40,000 who were lucky enough to be part of that watershed moment (last year) for the Kingdom, believe me, you have not seen anything yet,” said Prince Abdul Aziz Al-Faisal Al-Saud, chairman of the General Sports Authority.

“Last year we told people before we announced (the acts) they should get their tickets early to avoid disappointment. Once we revealed who was coming, the tickets sold out incredibly quickly. This year will be the same but even bigger, so for music fans who want to enjoy the biggest concerts in Saudi Arabia, the smart move is to get your ticket now.”

The Diriyah E Prix kicks off the sixth season of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, the world’s premier all-electric motorsport series, with a double header of races. It also marks the start of Diriyah Season, a month of sport, entertainment, art, cultural festivities, food and retail experiences. Tickets for the Diriyah E Prix, which include entry to the after-race concerts, are available at www.diriyahseason.sa.