Al Ra­jhi and TAV land Saudi deals for air­ports

Part­ner­ship will un­der­take work at Qas­sim and Hail

The National - News - Business - - The Region - Michael Fahy [email protected]­

A part­ner­ship be­tween Turkey’s TAV Group and Saudi Ara­bia’s Al Ra­jhi Hold­ing Group has been granted deals to ex­pand and op­er­ate two air­ports in Saudi Ara­bia.

The part­ner­ship will build new ter­mi­nals in the cities of Qas­sim and Hail – both of which are north-west of the cap­i­tal, Riyadh – and then op­er­ate them for 30 years. The deals were awarded by the King­dom’s Gen­eral Author­ity for Civil Avi­a­tion (Gaca). Both Qas­sim and Hail have ex­ist­ing air­ports, which each have a cur­rent ca­pac­ity of 2.5 mil­lion pas­sen­gers per year. Fol­low­ing the re­de­vel­op­ment, they will both have the ca­pac­ity to handle 6.5 mil­lion pas­sen­gers per year.

The ap­point­ments are part of a broader pri­vati­sa­tion push by the king­dom as a method of fund­ing the re­de­vel­op­ment of its air­ports.

TAV and Al Ra­jhi Group built the first pri­vately-fi­nanced air­port in the king­dom, Prince Mo­ham­mad bin Ab­du­laziz Air­port, in Me­d­ina. The pair built the air­port along­side con­trac­tor Saudi Oger from 2011-15 and have a li­cence to op­er­ate it for 25 years. Last month, they agreed a deal to ex­pand Yanbu air­port from 1.2 mil­lion pas­sen­gers per year to 3 mil­lion per year, with a 30-year op­er­at­ing pe­riod.

TAV, which has both a con­tract­ing and an air­port op­er­a­tions arm, said that the lat­est deal would even­tu­ally bring the num­ber of air­ports it op­er­ates to 17 world­wide.

Sani Sener, the com­pany’s pres­i­dent and CEO, said: “TAV’s success in the Me­d­ina Air­port project, which was the first air­port pri­vati­sa­tion project in Saudi Ara­bia, opened new doors in this coun­try.

“In the last two months, TAV has been se­lected by the Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity of Saudi Ara­bia for the de­vel­op­ment and op­er­a­tion of three more air­ports.”

He added that the firm had “its sig­na­ture in the cap­i­tal city air­ports of six coun­tries” in the wider region, as it is also work­ing on the ex­pan­sion of air­ports in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, and will op­er­ate a new pri­vate pas­sen­ger lounge at Mus­cat air­port.

The Gaca also awarded a sep­a­rate deal last week to a con­sor­tium to de­velop a new in­ter­na­tional air­port in the city of Taif, near Mecca. The winning con­sor­tium, com­pris­ing Jed­dah-based in­vest­ment com­pany Asyad Hold­ing, Con­sol­i­dated Con­trac­tors Com­pany and the op­er­a­tor of Mu­nich Air­port, Flughafen Munchen, will build an air­port with an ini­tial ca­pac­ity of 5 mil­lion pas­sen­gers per year.

A re­cent pa­per pub­lished by con­sul­tancy Oliver Wy­man said that pri­vati­sa­tion of air­ports can bring ben­e­fits to gov­ern­ments and the wider econ­omy, as well as pro­vide bet­ter fa­cil­i­ties for pas­sen­gers.

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