In push into air-cargo operations, Saudi Arabia plans roadshows to lure Amazon, DHL

Saudi Arabia plans to stage a number of roadshows in the next 12 to 18 months as it seeks to persuade the likes of Amazon.com Inc., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Deutsche Post AG’s DHL to help scale up air-cargo and distribution operations.

The Kingdom will invite private companies to establish partnerships and set up freight-forwarding and warehousing activities, Mohammed Fahad Alkhuraisi, vice president for strategy at the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation, said in an interview on Wednesday.

The push into air cargo and logistics aims to lift the amount of freight handled to 4.5 million tons annually by the end of the decade as part of a $100 billion plan to expand aviation in line with the Vision 2030 strategy of overhauling the Saudi economy and reducing its reliance on oil.

The country is expanding its airport infrastructure and setting up a new passenger airline in the Saudi capital Riyadh, preparations for which are “progressing very well,” Alkhuraisi said at the Farnborough International Airshow southwest of London.

As part of the plan, the GACA is looking to coordinate with carriers to make sure “the overall picture makes sense,” he said, with discounters Flynas and Flyadeal operating short-haul services and flag-carrier Saudia serving long-haul, pilgrimage and Red Sea tourism markets from its hub in Jeddah.

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