Saudi Arabia allows foreign companies to invest in privatised airports

5 January 2016 (Last Updated January 5th, 2016 18:30)

General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) of Saudi Arabia has announced that foreign companies can invest in airports that are being privatised without the requirement of any local partner.

Saudi

General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) of Saudi Arabia has announced that foreign companies can invest in airports that are being privatised without the requirement of any local partner.

GACA vice-chairman Faisal al-Sugair was quoted by Reuters as saying that investments from local firms will be restricted to 25% in some airports, allowing overseas companies to have major stakes in operating contracts.

The regulatory authority announced the privatisation plans in November. It stated that air traffic control and information technology units would be privatised.

By 2020, the country intends to privatise its international and domestic airports.

As part of this plan, some airports would be restructured to operate like firms while still being owned by the state.

"All international companies, operators, who are qualified, can participate."

GACA vice-chairman Faisal al-Sugair was quoted by Reuters as saying: "All international companies, operators, who are qualified, can participate.

"There is no requirement for a local partner, that's up to the companies."

The King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh will be 'corporatised' in the first quarter of 2016. However, Sugair claimed that its new terminal, Terminal 5, will operate as a concession under the Dublin Airport Authority before the remainder of the airport is privatised.

The concession for the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah will be managed by an international firm.

According to Sugair, GACA is currently preparing a list of bidders.

The third quarter of 2017 will see King Fahd International Airport in Dammam being corporatised, following which it will be privatised.

GACA is being advised by IFC on the privatisation of King Abdulaziz International Airport and the new Taif Airport.


Image: King Abdulaziz International Airport will be privatised in the second quarter of 2016. Photo: courtesy of Nomi887.