By Courtney Trenwith
Saudi Arabian Airlines to sell off four more businesses this year, including aviation academy and private airline
Saudi Arabian Airlines is preparing to privatise four more of its businesses, including Prince Sultan Aviation Academy and Saudia Private Airline, as it progresses towards a full sell off.
The conglomerate’s 400-bed hospital and Saudi Airlines Real Estate Development Company also will be sold this year, the company revealed, according to Arab News.
Saudias’ catering, cargo, ground services and aerospace engineering units already have been privatised since the company began its program in 2011.
“This year will witness the privatization of about 70 to 80 percent of our strategic units,” vice president for public relations Abdullah Al Ajhar was quoted as saying.
He said privatisation had helped boost profits, with ground services, catering and cargo each increasing to about SR600m ($160m) a year.
The Saudi government announced in 2000 it would privatise the company, unit by unit.
The largest business, national airline Saudi Airlines, which carries about 22m passengers each year, will be the last component to be sold off.
The government is upgrading the fleet in preparation for the sale, with the process not expected to begin before 2015.