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logo_big.gif (2731 bytes)   Saudi Arabia Business Infrastructure   SAUDI BUSINESS INFRASTRUCTURE

Because of the large distances that separate Saudi Arabia’s main cities, air travel is the preferred method of travel within the Kingdom. There are three major, modern international airports in the Kingdom: King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, and King Fahd International Airport in the Eastern Province (which will be inaugurated soon; it is not yet operational). Each features a variety of international airlines. In addition, there are 22 regional and local airports. Domestic air transportation service is provided by the national carrier, Saudi Arabian Airlines. Taxis, rental cars, and limousines are all readily available at airports.

Saudi Arabia also has an impressive and expanding network of highways which connect the country’s major regions and cities. Driving is done on the right side of the road, as it is in the United States. Women do not drive, and should plan on traveling in a limousine or taxi. One rail line carries passengers and freight between Dammam and Riyadh. Another line is being planned to link the industrial city of Jubail and Dammam. Seven modern major ports can be found in the cities of Jeddah, Yanbu, Dammam, Jubail, Jizan, Rabigh, and Dhiba, some with their own separate commercial and industrial facilities. The Jeddah and Dammam ports are state-of-the-art commercial ports. The Yanbu and Jubail ports are state-of-the-art major industrial ports with modern bulk cargo and container handling capabilities. Ras Tanura, an oil super-terminal on the Gulf, is one of the largest in the world.


The telecommunications sector in the Kingdom is growing quickly, with a variety of services available including telephone, fax, telex, and courier services. Telephone and telegraph lines are multiplying to meet increasing demand, and direct domestic and overseas dialing is available at most locations within the country. The Ministry of Post, Telegraph, and Telephone (PTT), working with Lucent Technologies, is currently progressing on the sixth phase of the telephone network expansion, which will add 1.5 million new phone lines, bringing the total to 3 million. Saudi authorities are also rapidly expanding the mobile phone system. Internet service was introduced into the Kingdom in early 1999. Use of private satellite communication transponders is not available.

The major cities have world-class hotel accommodations, and many of the better restaurants are located in such hotels. There is a great variety of food available in the Kingdom, reflecting the country’s diverse expatriate population. Supermarkets usually have a good selection of Western products.

Education at all levels is provided free, although most non-Saudis, especially non-Arabs, working in the Kingdom send their children to private schools. Because of the diversity of the foreign population in Saudi Arabia, there is an excellent network of private American, British, French, and other schools in the major cities for grades K-9. Expatriate children usually receive further education outside the Kingdom.

Quality hospital, medical, and dental services are available in most major cities. New facilities are being introduced regularly throughout the Kingdom, and there are state-of the art medical facilities in the major cities, such as Riyadh and Jeddah. Most Westerners find the quality of care adequate for routine medical visits and minor surgery. Most drugs available in the United States can be obtained in Saudi Arabia. Health care is provided free in Saudi Arabia, although in private facilities, a patient is required to pay medical and dental fees at the time of the visit. Most physicians and hospitals in the Kingdom are not accustomed to dealing with health care companies and credit payments yet.

Saudi companies normally provide for foreign expatriates either with housing or a housing allowance. Rent is comparable to that of U.S. metropolitan areas. Most Western expatriate workers choose to live on compounds that provide additional services such as cable television, limousine service, security, day care, shops, and sports facilities.




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