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Private Jets Sit Idle Under Saudi Arabia’s Corruption Crackdown

The private jet industry is taking a hit in Saudi Arabia due to the ongoing corruption crackdown orchestrated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al Saud, Reuters reports.

Those who still own private jets and are free to fly fear the optics of doing so would place them under further scrutiny, sources told Reuters. Some of the elite are reportedly taking commercial flights to nearby countries and then chartering private jets to avoid government detection.

As a result, roughly 70 planes—each worth hundreds of millions of dollars—remain idle at airports around Saudi Arabia.

The crackdown began in November 2017 when dozens of wealthy individuals were detained. The Saudi state placed travel bans on some and seized the assets of many, claiming they were obtained through corruption.

Reuters reports that aircraft seized by the Saudi government could be added to existing fleets for ministries and state-owned corporations. Another source claimed the government wants to use the planes to set up its own private jet company.