Following a meeting last night of the board of directors of Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAA),
Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and
Aviation and Inspector-General, reported that the main topic on the agenda had been that of
the proposed privatization of the airline. A committee has been formed from board members,
SAA officials, and representatives from the Civil Aviation Authority, which will consult
with international experts in the matter. Prince Sultan said that he hoped that the public
would be notified about positive steps taken towards privatization at the next board
meeting. He added that the recent agreement for the purchase of 61 new planes was in
preparation for the transfer of SAA to the private sector, remarking that the Saudis who
participate in the venture will find at their disposal not only the most advanced of
aircraft, but highly qualified pilots and engineers.
n response to a question on negotiations between SAA and American banks for the financing
still outstanding on the planes mentioned, Prince Sultan gave assurances that this was
continuing successfully. Concerning any debts accruing to SAA, he said there is no
establishment in the world that does not have debts and exigencies, and that these will be
paid in due course.
Asked about the official denial that the Kingdom had participated in any way in the current
operations in Dagestan, Prince Sultan declared that such a question is out of place, since
Saudi Arabia is not involved in anything like this, saying: "We are against terrorism, and
against intervention in the internal affairs of other countries."