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Uber signs agreement with Riyadh Airports

Uber signs agreement with Riyadh Airports

Uber will have three dedicated areas at Riyadh International Airport

Riyadh Airports Company has signed an agreement with Uber, allowing the ride sharing app to transport passengers to and from King Khalid International Airport (KKIA).

Uber has been given three dedicated areas at the airport, a statement said.

The newly established Riyadh Airports Company is part of the privatisation programme of the aviation sector in Saudi, and the company is responsible for managing and operating KKIA.

Saleh Al Rasheed, CEO of Riyadh Airports, said: “The agreement is the first of its kind for the company in the kingdom, and allows Uber driver-partners to reliably pick-up and drop-off passengers from dedicated Uber locations at arrival and departure terminals 1, 2, and 5 at King Khalid International Airport.

“This agreement is in line with Riyadh Airports’ approach towards developing strategic partnerships that will enhance the customer experience of passengers traveling through King Khalid International Airport,” he added.

Zeid Hreish, general manager of Uber KSA that “millions of people” in Saudi Arabia had installed the app since its launch in the kingdom.

“Uber is supporting the government’s focus on saudisation as part of its National Transformation Plan, and since the Saudi Public Transport Authority passed the ride-sharing regulations, we have already on-boarded more than 80,000 Saudi driver-partners on the app, and we will continue to invite more to use the technology,” he said.

In October last year, it was confirmed that ride hailing companies such as Uber and Careem operating in the kingdom would only be allowed to employ Saudi nationals directly.

Read more: Expats can’t be employed by ride hailing services in Saudi

Earlier this year, it was also reported that non-Saudi drivers working for ride hailing applications would face fines and possible deportation.

An official said that the penalties were part of the kingdom’s efforts to nationalise the transport sector.

Any non-Saudi caught running the ride-sharing service will face a fine of SAR5,000 and possible deportation, the official added.

Read more: Non-Saudi Uber/Careem drivers face deportation – official

Interestingly, in June last year, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund – the Public Investment Fund (PIF) – announced an investment of $3.5bn into Uber.

The deal was part of a $5bn round of funding by Uber and allowed PIF to own about 5 per cent of the company.

The investment was also aimed at helping Uber expand in the Middle East.

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