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Fri 31 Aug 2012 02:52 PM

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Gulf airlines eye flights to upgraded Saudi airport

Bahrain's Gulf Air, Qatar Airways set to start flights to Al-Ahsa airport next year - report

Gulf airlines eye flights to upgraded Saudi airport
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Work on upgrading a domestic airport in eastern Saudi Arabia so it can start accepting international flights will be completed by early 2013, an official has said.

Bahrain's Gulf Air, Qatar Airways and Egypt Air are set to start flights to Al-Ahsa airport once the work is completed, said Saleh Al-Afaleq, member of the board of the directors of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), in comments pubished by the Saudi Gazette on Friday.

Al-Afaleq said the three airlines had expressed their readiness to operate scheduled flights from Al-Ahsa to Doha, Dubai and Cairo.

He told the paper: “The technical authorities at the airport are working around the clock to meet the requirements made by GACA to turn the airport into an international one."

He added that a feasibility study carried out by GACA indicated that the number of expatriates working in Al-Ahsa region reached more than 300,000, a factor that ensures the new airport’s commercial viability.

Last year, GACA announced that it would open up domestic flights in the country to foreign carriers, with licences due to be issued from September this year.

Qatar Airways, Bahrain Air and Gulf Air are among the firms in pre-qualified consortia bidding for the new airline licence in Saudi Arabia.

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