Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General, yesterday patronized the ceremony organized by Saudia on the occasion of the announcement of its new logo, and reiterated the commitment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the policy of privatization, in line with the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz in connection with the national airline and with similar corporations owned by the state. In order to avoid any adverse impact, he said, this process of privatization would be carried out in accordance with well-prepared studies.
Pointing out that the recently-concluded agreement to purchase 61 planes was a great achievement, he praised the Saudi pilots, technicians and administrators as being capable of efficiently shouldering their responsibility. Prince Sultan also highlighted the existing excellent relations between Saudi businessmen and the national airlines. Underlining the importance of recruiting Saudi cadres, Prince Sultan said that this should be done by all government departments and not only by the national airline, and noted that currently there are about 23,000 Saudis employed by Saudia. Referring to selling off Saudia planes, he said that negotiations are in hand to do so, either to companies or to other states.
As regards civil airports, Prince Sultan remarked that the Kingdom owns 26 of them, one of the largest networks in the world; nevertheless, arrangements are underway to develop it further.
Referring to the international scene, Prince Sultan stated that Saudi Arabia is satisfied with the mediation between Qatar and Bahrain in the light of recent visits to the Kingdom by the Qatari and Bahraini rulers. As for the national airline’s flights to Yemen, he said that Saudia has been running a regular service to Sanaa. Concerning Beirut, however, Prince Sultan said that this would depend on the decision of the Lebanese government.