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Top Saudi Arabia Business NewsFrom the Local Press

      

Supply of jet fuel at cheaper rate to all airlines operating at KFIA
Dammam 17th May 2001

  The Presidency of Civil Aviation has made 10 proposals to increase air traffic to and from King Fahd International Airport in the Eastern Province. The proposals include the supply of jet fuel at cheaper rate to all airlines operating at the airport and a revision of landing and other service charges, Ali Al-Khalaf, head of the presidency, said here yesterday.

The presidency has been working alongside an expert committee to chalk out plans and proposals to increase air traffic to the airport, considered the gateway to the Middle East. Addressing a news conference at the airport, Al-Khalaf said Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah, deputy premier and commander of the National Guard, were keen to promote air traffic to KFIA.

“Prince Sultan, second deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation, has issued directives to the authorities concerned to give priority to boost air traffic to King Fahd International Airport in Dammam,” he told reporters.

Prince Sultan set up the expert committee to take effective measures for promoting air traffic to and from the airport.

Al-Khalaf referred to PCA’s efforts to expedite the committee’s activities by undertaking the necessary studies and research with the help of experts. He said the PCA and the committee were working out on proposals to enhance air traffic to the airport and remove the obstacles that stand in the way of its development.

Other PCA proposals were the revision of rents for investment facilities at the airport, the slashing of ground handling and catering charges and the implementation of an open-air policy exclusively for KFIA, allowing all international airlines to operate flights to the airport.

Under the proposals, international airlines will be allowed to link two points in one flight, Dammam being one of the two. The national flag carrier will be consulted to allow foreign airlines to land at KFIA and transport passengers to a destination outside Dammam.

“The national airliner will also be advised to cut international airfares reasonably to make them competitive with those offered by other airlines. This will encourage passengers to fly Saudia from KFIA,” Al-Khalaf said.

The proposals said the Saudi Arabian Airlines will continue the practice of not charging commission from other airlines for operating at KFIA.

The PCA also proposed to encourage air cargo movement at the airport and landing of planes for refueling and catering by introducing competitive charges.

“All immigration procedures at the airport will be revised to facilitate movement of passengers,” he said. Entry visas for transit passengers will also be considered to promote trade and tourism, he added. The airport will also be provided with transport, reception and other vital services.

Al-Khalaf denied media reports that many airlines as well as passengers were shifting to the neighboring Bahrain airport due to high landing and other service charges at the KFIA. “No airline has shifted its operation from KFIA due to charges,” he asserted. Some newspapers recently reported that PCA was  likely to reduce airport charges by up to 30 percent.

Al-Khalaf said the PCA was launching a drive to attract more international airlines to KFIA. And the new jet fuel proposal was a step in that direction. Cheaper jet fuel is expected to attract international airlines, especially those operating from developing Asian countries, to the airport.

Al-Khalaf said that the PCA wanted to open the skies for all major international airlines and it was working on a plan to attract them to the airport. He said 2.7 million passengers traveled through KFIA in a year. Out of these, 60 percent were domestic passengers.

The airport has the capacity of handling 11 million passengers a year. Ironically, the neighboring Bahrain airport serves 3.5 million passengers a year, all of them bound for international destinations.

Airlines operating from Dammam have complained that Gulf Air, Qatar Airways, Kuwait Airways and Emirates carry passengers by road to Manama Airport via King Fahd Causeway. They say that this undermines their business and deprives the Kingdom of millions of riyals in every year in airport tax. These airlines have been demanding reduction in airport charges and a check on airlines carrying passengers to Bahrain.


Source: Arab News©
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17 May 2001 06:35:08 PM

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