Monday, July 23, 2012
Late last year, Saudi Arabia made the monumental decision to allow foreign carriers to operate flights within its domestic market. The Saudi General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) has now revealed that it has produced a shortlist of seven companies out of 14 applicants that are under consideration for one or more licenses to operate domestic routes within Saudi Arabia. Qatar Airways, Bahrain Air and the parent company of China's Hainan Airlines are all under consideration. The GACA intends to make a decision on licenses by October, and to allow licensees to begin operating in late 2013. This development marks a big step forward for aviation liberalization in the Middle East.