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December 21, 2021

Saudi Arabia eyes privatisation of its airports

Saudi Arabia aims to boost passenger handling capacity to 300 million by the end of this decade.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is reportedly looking to privatise all airports in the country as part of its economic diversification strategy called ‘Vision 2030’.

Speaking to Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) head Abdulaziz Al-Duailej said that 22 airport operators will be transformed into holding companies, tasked with construction, operation and management.

The GACA head added that Abha International Airport is currently undergoing final technical and economic studies.

Additionally, airports located in Taif and Qassim provinces are being considered for privatisation, Duailej said.

According to the newspaper, these airports would be eventually moved to the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and “put on the market at a later time”.

Duailej also told the newspaper that the Saudi aviation sector would be inviting local as well as overseas investors to make their investments in various sectors including airports, freight, catering, maintenance and ground services.

The aim is to increase passenger handling capacity to 300 million by the end of this decade.

Additionally, its aviation strategy will focus on expansion of existing airport structures in the region and also establish a new national carrier.

In May this year, Saudi Arabia lifted Covid-19-related travel curbs for passengers arriving from 11 nations.

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