Saudi Arabia will begin privatizing its airports and related services in the first quarter of 2016, the country’s General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) said on Sunday, reported the Saudi Gazette.
King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh will be privatized in the first quarter next year, followed by air traffic control and information technology units in the second and third quarters respectively, the statement said.
“The privatization programme is in line with the kingdom’s plan to boost productivity and efficiency at its airport systems, as well as to ease the government’s financial burdens,” Sulaiman Al Hamdan, chairman of GACA, was quoted as saying by Al-Bawaba.
The cause for this move was, as analysts have anticipated, declining oil prices, in a bid to diversify the economy away from oil and generate new sources of income for the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia has already been privatizing some of its airport units while investing in its airlines infrastructure by buying more planes. Both Saudi Airlines Catering Co and Saudi Ground Services Co have been listed on Tadawul, the kingdom’s bourse.
GACA added that more units at its domestic and international airports will be privatized according to a five-year schedule set until 2020.