Jan 03 2013
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Entry of new operators seen ending domestic flight reservation crisis
Mohammed Al-Amri, executive director of SCTA in the Makkah region, declined to place full responsibility on either Saudi Arabian Airlines or Nas in a statement to a local newspaper.
"The presence of four airline companies operating domestic flights will make a quantum leap in internal mobility. However, the management of this process should be dealt with efficiently, while learning from previous experiences in operating domestic flights of the two companies, Nas and Sama, over the past four years," Al-Amri said
Awarding Gulf Air and Qatar Airways licenses to operate domestic flights in the Kingdom confirms that the leadership is keen to take corrective decisions in a timely manner, said Al-Amri.
Air transport within the Kingdom struggles with two issues. The first is inconsistency in the seating capacity between some cities. Regularly there are not enough seats available on major lines, such as Riyadh-Jeddah on a normal day.
The other problem is that there are no flight between some cities, for example, Tabuk , Taif, Hail, Abha, Qassim and Jizan, as well as between the tourist areas.
Al-Amri said that domestic tourism has been growing steadily every year.
Khalid Al-Harthy, a member of the Jeddah Chamber's (JCCI) tourism committee said to a local newspaper that, "The presence of competitors, especially if they are foreign investors, will create competition to provide quality and the right price for the service. I expect an availability of more flights to more destinations, especially in times of events and school holidays. It is a well-known fact that monopoly generates weak service."
Al-Harthy pointed out that the new operators would provide thousands of job opportunities for Saudis, either through their companies or at tourist offices as well as in the businesses associated with touring trips as taxis, guides and other tourism activities.
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