Qatar Airways Ltd and China’s Hainan Airlines Co are among carriers vying to offer domestic flights in Saudi Arabia after an initial 14 applicants were cut to a shortlist of seven, the kingdom’s aviation regulator said.
 
Khalid al-Khaibary, a spokesman for the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation, said in an interview that other operators still in the running after an assessment of financial strength and experience include Gulf Air of Bahrain and rival Bahrain Air.
 
Domestic flights in the largest Arab economy are currently limited to Saudi Arabian Airlines and discount carrier National Air Services. Al-Khaibary said that with travel demand increasing as the population of 28 million grows by 3 percent annually, more than one license may be awarded, with winners to be announced in October with flights starting by the fourth quarter of 2013.
 
 
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