By Sara Anabtawi
Those in the running are from Saudi Arabia, the GCC and China
Seven Saudi and foreign firms have been shortlisted to bid for a new license to operate domestic and international flights to and from Saudi Arabia, it has been reported.
The seven qualified bidders, which were chosen out of a total 14 by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), include companies from Saudi Arabia, the GCC and China, reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
Earlier this month, Qatar Airways was the first carrier to express an interest in operating a subsidiary in the oil-rich kingdom’s domestic market.
The carrier claimed it CEO, Akbar Al Baker, has held talks with the new chairman of GACA, Prince Fahad bin Abdullah Al Saud, to discuss the kingdom’s new aviation policy.
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. The market is currently a duopoly consisting of state-run Saudi Arabian Airlines and low-cost carrier nasair.
Low-cost carrier flydubai has ruled itself out of the running for a domestic licence in Saudi Arabia, but Emirates, Gulf Air and Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways have thus far not clarified their position.