Saudi Arabia has moved the target completion date for the privatisation of its airports from 2020 to 2017, according to a local media report citing Abdul Hakeem al-Tamimi, newly appointed president of the General Authority for Civil Aviation (Gaca).

Five airports, including the Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz in Medina, have been converted as public-private partnerships (PPPs), one of the three methods that will be utilised for the privatisation programme.

Two international airports have been converted as private operating entities, which is the preferred second privatisation method. Riyadh Airports Company now manages King Khalid International Airport while Dammam Airports Company is managing King Fahd International airport in Dammam.

US-based Goldman Sachs has been appointed as adviser in the sale of a minority stake in Riyadh airport.

The third privatisation method is to assign a long-term specialised airport operator similar to the recent contract signed for Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International airport, where a 20-year operation and maintenance contract with Singapore’s Changi Airports International has been signed.

It is understood that the remaining 19 to 20 airports in the kingdom, most of which are small domestic and regional airports, will be privatised using one of the three options and by groups, according to Al-Tamimi.

Airport Privatisation model Contractor / Developer / SPV
Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz, Qassim PPP TAV / Al-Rajhi
Hail airport PPP TAV / Al-Rajhi
Prince Abdul Mohsin bin Abdul Aziz, Yanbu (passenger terminal) PPP TAV / Al-Rajhi
Taif International PPP Asyad / Munich Airports / Consolidated Contractors Company
Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International, Medina PPP Tibah
King Abdulaziz International, Jeddah Private operator Changi Airports
King Khalid International, Riyadh Private operating company Goldman Sachs (financial adviser for stake sale)
King Fahd International, Dammam Private operating company na
Source: MEED

The aviation regulator, General Authority for Civil Aviation, previously owned and operated all airports in the kingdom.

The ownership of all airports has recently been transferred to Saudi Civil Aviation Holding Company, which is to be fully owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF).