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Saudi Arabia to transfer airports to sovereign fund prior to privatisation

Saudi Arabia will transfer ownership of its airports to its main sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, as it moves to privatise them, Thomson Reuters Zawya has reported.25 Aug 2017

Companies will be set up for each airport under Saudi Civil Aviation Holding, part of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) Zawya  said, citing the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

GACA will continue to regulate the industry, spokesman Mohammed al-Shetwey told SPA.  

"The process of establishing companies will continue for all airports, and the civil aviation holding company in the future will be 100% owned by the Public Investment Fund," al-Shetwey said. 

A company has been established for Dammam's main airport, and the expanded King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah will be managed by Singapore's Changi Airport Group when it begins operating in the second half of 2018, al-Shetwey told SPA.

Sources told Reuters last month that Saudi Arabia has hired Goldman Sachs to manage the sale of a stake in Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport, which would be the first major privatisation.

Al-Shetwey said refurbishment that airport will begin after next week's haj pilgrimage, the news site reported.

Foreign companies will be allowed to invest in the privatisation of Saudi Arabia's airports without the need for local partners, and local investment will be capped to encourage overseas investment.

The airport privatisation plans were announced in 2015.