Foreign airlines to start Saudi routes 'in April 2013'
Aviation authorities in Saudi Arabia say they expect foreign carriers to begin running domestic services in the kingdom from April 2013, Arab News reported.
Speaking to the newspaper, Khalid Al-Khaibary, spokesman of General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), said that demand for domestic travel currently "amounted to an extra 2m seats annually".
Last month, Al-Khaibary was quoted as saying that 14 overseas airlines had applied for domestic licenses in the Gulf country and GACA would begin approving applications from September this year.
Al-Khaibary said the foreign carriers will have the option to pick any Saudi airport to operate out of.
He added that in terms of ticket pricing, GACA would put in place some regulations, but he expected competition to determine the cost of travel on foreign airlines.
"Ticket prices, however, will be based primarily on how many of the 14 foreign carriers that have applied will actually win licensing and enter the market, which is still unknown," Al-Khaibary added.
Low-cost UAE carrier flydubai earlier this month told Arabian Business that it would not be bidding for a domestic air license in Saudi.
Domestic air travel in Saudi Arabia is currently monopolise by state-backed carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines and no frills carrier nasair.