Monday, December 26, 2011

Sadu Arabia opens aviation sector to competition

The General Authority of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia (GACA) said on Sunday it will allow foreign and local investors to operate domestic and international flights in the kingdom so it can meet growing demand. Currently, the GACA works with consultants in order to carry out the technical procedures for a public tender, which should be announced in late January.

Earlier this year, the Saudi Arabian authority said it was considering a plan to open the local aviation market to Gulf carriers, but did not specify when it would reach a decision. In April, the Shura Council, a group of consultants appointed by the king, said it was looking into proposals to grant licenses to Gulf carriers to operate domestic flights.

The largest economy in the Arab world currently has two operating airlines – state-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines and low-cost carrier National Air Services (NAS). The kingdom’s third carrier Sama Airlines, stopped operations last year, after discussions on a possible government support for the company failed.

In November, King Abdullah ordered the separation of the civil aviation industry of the country’s Ministry of Defense and appointed Prince Fahd bin Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Saud as head of the GACA.

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