Saudi Arabia to open domestic market to foreign carriers
Saudi Arabian General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) announced it would open tenders in Jan-2012 to award licences for foreign carriers to operate domestic and international flights from Saudi airports. According to reports by Arab News, the GACA hopes to make the tender announcements by 23-Feb-2012. Carriers awarded tenders will be permitted to operate any domestic route and will be given multiple options with regard to hub airports. International operations will be permitted within the terms of existing bilateral air services agreements. Prince Fahd Al-Abdullah, Assistant Minister of Defence and Aviation and Inspector General for Civil Aviation Affairs, said he was doubtful foreign investors would invest in the Saudi aviation market but he expects local LCCs such as flydubai, Air Arabia and Jazeera Airways would show interest in entering the market. Foreign carriers would be legally prevented from controlling a majority of traffic on domestic routes.