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Saudi to award new airline licenses in September - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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JEDDAH, (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia will clear new carriers for takeoff in September, the kingdom’s aviation authority said on Wednesday, granting airline licenses for the right operate both local and international flights.

Khalid al-Khaibary, the spokesman for General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA), said 14 companies had applied for licenses and the government had yet to decide on how many carriers it would authorize.

“The requests for proposals will be handed toward the end of May with a deadline to receive bids by the end of August. Winners will be awarded licenses in September,” Khaibary told Reuters by telephone.

National carrier Saudi Airlines and budget airline National Air Services (NAS) now serve a domestic market of around 27 million people.

But with a price cap on domestic flights, private airlines have struggled with their profit margins. In 2010, a third carrier, Sama Airlines, was forced to suspend its operations.

Saudi Airlines, which is undergoing a slow privatisation process, receives fuel at subsidized prices unlike private carriers, allowing it to offset the limits of the ticket cost ceiling.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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