The transfer will also boost oversight as the General
Authority of Civil Authority will no longer be both an operator and regulator,
he said. The kingdom aims to win investment in airports as its seeks to
revive an aviation industry that’s been dwarfed by competitors in nearby
It’s also looking at privatizing seaports as depressed crude prices weigh on state spending plans. The wealth fund will take over Saudi Civil Aviation Holding, which will act as an umbrella company for the airport operators, Al-Sugair said. The holding company will be worth “billions of dollars,” he said.
The kingdom also has plans to transfer ownership of oil
giant Saudi Arabian Oil
A variety of privatisation options are under consideration, including initial public offerings and private stake sales, he said. Different airports may be sold in different ways, and the government is yet to decide what stakes it will retain, he said. Price water house Coopers and Ernst & Young are advising on the sale process and on turning operators into companies.
The eventual sales may be hampered by “a very bearish market,” Al-Sugair said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you get less interest if you don’t get very good bids because of the situation in the market,” he said. That could lead to sales being re-tendered or postponed, he said.
Al-Sugair, declined to comment on the level of interest in current tenders, which include Qassim, Hail, Ahsa and Taif airports, as he’s not directly involved in them. Generally, most bidders for Saudi airports have been European and international airport operators in partnership with contractors and investors, he said.
The country intends to convert Dammam airport into a company
by July 1, followed by smaller airports and the