GACA delays naming winner of Saudi domestic aviation licence

17 Sep 2012

(MENAFN) Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has decided to delay the announcement of the Kingdom’s new domestic airline to next year rather than this month, Arab News reported.

GACA said it will award the country’s third domestic licence in February, while the launch of full services will take place in April.

Seven foreign airlines have been shortlisted from a total of fourteen carriers that applied for the licence. The winner will join flag-carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines and low-cost airline nasair.

Qatar Airways is one of the carriers that expressed an interest in the licence. However, CEO Akbar Al Baker expressed concerns about high fuel charges and the government’s policy of subsidising airfares.

Both those issues have contributed to Saudia and nasair heavy losses in recent years, while a third player, SAMA, was forced out of the market in 2010.

Last month, the Eqtisadiah newspaper reported that the country’s third carrier would be able to buy aviation fuel for the same discounted price that is offered to Saudia.

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