The strong presence of foreign pilots in Saudi Arabian Airlines, estimated at 25 percent of the total pilots operating in the Kingdom, has come for sharp criticism from Shoura Council members.
Abdullah Al-Harbi, a member of the Council, said the airline had failed to capitalize on the large Saudi pilots’ workforce in the past 10 years, despite the fact that the airline had added new aircraft to upgrade its fleet. “This resulted in a glut of assistant pilots numbering over 700, of whom 250 are ready to be promoted to the post of captains following completion of requirements,” he said.
Instead of training Saudi pilots and promoting them, he said the airlines recruited 210 pilots of different nationalities. “The number of foreign pilots does not augur well for a company which has been around for 60 years, but yet, failed to achieve the goal of nationalization of jobs,” he argued.
His argument is that the company spends time, money and effort on training foreign pilots, and after they qualify and gain experience using Saudi funds, they leave the job to work for other airlines. “The downside of this is that the Saudis are denied the chance to be promoted,” he added.
Another Shoura member Said Mariq said the report of Saudi Arabian Airlines does not reflect indicators that the Council aspires for. “The spin-off is that the airlines following the privatization process, has established eight companies. What is the role played by these subsidiaries in supporting the parent company?” asked Mariq.
Mariq revealed that the revenues of the company stood at SR19 billion against a SR21 billion expenditure, clearly indicating a deficit in its budget.
Abdulrahman Al-Rashid, another Shoura member, demanded that the company provide detailed financial statement to the council, while another member, Atta Al-Subaiti, wondered why the airline was placed at the 87th in the list of top airliners of the world in 2012.