RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — SaudiGulf airline will be licensed to start domestic flights in the Kingdom from June 22, according to a statement issued by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).
SaudiGulf airline is one of two new carriers that have been preparing to launch services in the Kingdom under the country’s stated intention to liberalize its domestic aviation scene.
This is currently dominated by flag carrier Saudia, which holds some 90% of the market, with hybrid carrier flynas making up the remainder.
SaudiGulf, which will initially use four Airbus A320s before acquiring 16 Bombardier CS300s, has been awaiting an air operator’s certificate (AOC) from GACA for more than 18 months, as has the second planned entrant to the Saudi market, Qatar Airways-backed Al Maha Airways.
The June 10 GACA statement announcing SaudiGulf’s service entry made no mention of progress with Al Maha’s application.
SaudiGulf will begin domestic flights from its base at King Fahad International Airport (KFIA) in Dammam.
In a statement, GACA said the AOC had been granted after SaudiGulf had met all the necessary regulations from both ICAO and Saudi Arabia’s national aviation. The license will be handed over at a ceremony on June 22.