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When the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia began the privatisation of its flag-carrier in 2006, everyone understood that the mainline airline would be the last of the group's six business units to be sold off.
One decade on, the passenger division remains firmly under the wing of its well-endowed government owner. That is no surprise given the company's ongoing financial troubles: chief executive Abdul Mohsen Junaid freely admits that Saudia is "nowhere close to break-even on domestic routes" – a segment that accounts for two-thirds of its seating capacity.
But while Saudia-the-airline is not yet ready to leave the nest, Saudia-the-group has made impressive strides towards privatisation...