Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General Prince Sultan bin
Abdulaziz, who is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAA), today signed
contracts with a number of specialized companies and financial and legal consultants concerning the
program for privatization of the airline. Speaking on the occasion, Prince Sultan stressed that the Kingdom
has chosen privatization as a strategic option in order to utilize the capabilities of its youth and to highlight their innovations and skills, pointing out: "After completion of the study the contracts for which have been signed today, we will present to our citizens a large and successful facility that will promise greater success for investment and that will be operated as a profitable private company providing distinguished service, giving returns to its stockholders and operated on a strictly economic basis."
Prince Sultan added that privatization also means less of the bureaucracy that undermines ambition and limits the enthusiasm of the people in charge. Privatization of government establishments, he said, "has become the subject of political economy that has recently attracted growing interest; the active contribution of all members and sectors of society has become an urgent requirement for achieving balanced economic development." He went on to urge all SAA officials and those who have been chosen to assist in preparing the privatization program to formulate a program that is capable of implementation and that depends on the components of the economic process to yield its desired results.
At a press conference later, Prince Sultan stated that SAA, as a private company, would have the right to
express its opinion concerning the pricing of tickets.
Meanwhile, it was reported that SAA has received another new plane, a Boeing 777/200. This brings to 54
the number of new planes received out of the 61 planes purchased in December 1997 from the U.S.