Saudi Arabia to tender four new airport privatisation projects

Premium Analysis

A wide-ranging privatisation process in Saudi Arabia, and one that included the airport sector, experienced a hiatus in 2018 in the wake of incidents that presented the kingdom in a dubious light in the mind of the western world generally.

Five years on the process has been resurrected. It has an emphasis on small to medium size airports away from the major cities, and where the objective seems to be to create 'new' airports out of existing ones by way of the sort of infrastructure which PPPs have historically provided - such as new terminals.

Saudi Arabia has changed in the past five years. It increasingly covets foreign tourists, and especially those prepared to 'splash the cash' in the new global scale cities and resorts that it is creating.

But it also seeks to distance itself politically from the west, from where it has previously received support, and to find allies from the east and north.

That will inevitably impact on the selection of the 'private' partners for these ventures.

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