New domestic airlines’ in Saudi Arabia take-off delayed

Al-Maha Airways and Saudi Gulf Airlines have been further delayed due to technical reasons

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New domestic airlines — Al-Maha Airways and Saudi Gulf Airlines — have been further delayed due to technical reasons as the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) asked them to complete safety procedures in order to start operation next year.

“The two private airlines were supposed to begin their services this month but their flights were delayed because of technical reasons,” said Abdul Hakeem Al-Badr, assistant president for safety and transport.

He urged the two airlines to complete safety measures to receive the license.

“The two airlines have bought a fleet of aircraft required for operation in the Kingdom,” he said, adding that the first plane for Saudi Gulf Airlines would arrive by the end of this month.

“We expect the two operators to complete final procedures to get the necessary license, including safety measures,” Al-Badr told Al-Watan Arabic daily.

“The operation of the new airlines will not affect activities of the Kingdom’s hub airports,” he added.

Al-Badr disclosed plans to transform Hail Regional Airport into an international airport. “The expansion of its terminals has been completed. Hail has been selected to become a hub airport considering its strategic position. The project will be launched in the first quarter of 2016,” Al-Badr said.

He said Hail airport would give quick connections to Al-Jouf, Arar, Gurayat, Qaisuma, Turaif and Rafha, adding that it would receive 33 flights daily.

“We also intend to convert Abha into a hub airport considering the intensity of flights,” he added.

Meanwhile, Hail Governor Prince Abdul Mohsen opened an aviation conference in the city in the presence of Sulaiman Al-Hamdan, president of GACA on Tuesday. An exhibition is being held on the sidelines of the conference with the participation of 40 exhibitors.

Al-Hamdan said the hub airport system launched by GACA would serve domestic passengers to reach their destinations easily and improve aviation services.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Nov. 26, 2015.

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