Saudi airline could privatise five units

Saudi Arabian Airlines will privatise five units next year, some through public listings, to pave the way for the flotation of its core transport business, company and banking sources told Reuters news agency on Sunday. The sources said the government had given the flag carrier’s board the green light to turn its catering, handling, cargo, pilots training and technical and maintenance units into independent firms.

“Some of these firms can be listed, mainly catering and cargo, but others will probably need to be managed by the private sector, or outsourced,” a source from French bank BNP Paribas told Reuters.

The bank is helping plan the privatisation of the airline, one of the largest in the Middle East.

“Some of these divisions will be privatised within a year, others within 18 months,” said the source, who asked not to be named. “We will start quite soon contacts with international and local firms interested in these privatisations.”