RIYADH, 22 July – Saudi Arabia said it will cut airport charges by as much as 35 per cent in a bid to compete in a region that already hosts some of the world’s biggest passenger hubs, according to a Bloomberg report.
The reduction will apply to King Khalid International Airport of Riyadh, Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport and King Fahd International Airport of Dammam. The cut in airport charges will come into force later this year.
The airport charge slashes are the next step in the ongoing privatization of the airport sector, the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) announced at the Farnborough Air Show on Wednesday. Airports will be allowed flexibility to reduce charges below the announced caps to maximize growth in passenger traffic, GACA said.
The move comes after Saudi Arabia said it would offer airlines incentives to fly unprofitable routes and days after the country opened up its airspace to all airlines flying in and out of Israel. The Kingdom is looking to compete better with major hubs in neighbouring United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
Saudi Arabia began offering tourist visas in late 2019, and subsidizing carriers to fly to the country is a recognition of how limited options are for travellers to get there.
The move is the latest step in Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s strategy to reduce reliance on the world’s largest crude oil exports and turn Riyadh into a global business hub. — Saudi Gazette