New Saudi Airline Sets Up A320-737 Duel With 50-Jet Fleet Plan

Saudi Arabia’s new state-owned discount carrier plans to build a fleet of as many as 50 aircraft by 2020 and will choose within weeks between narrow-body models made by Airbus Group SE and Boeing Co.

Flyadeal will select either Airbus A320s or Boeing 737s that it will lease or obtain through a transfer of orders from parent company Saudi Arabian Airlines, the group’s director general, Saleh Al Jasser, told reporters in Dubai. The low-cost unit will serve domestic and regional markets within a four- to five-hour radius from its hub in Jeddah, using a single-class cabin.

The new budget airline will compete for the lucrative Saudi Arabian market with its own parent company and Flynas. Qatar Airways’ Saudi Arabian venture Al Maha Airways and Saudi Gulf have been awaiting regulatory approvals for several years to operate in the market. Flyadeal, the creation of which was announced last week, is a subsidiary of the holding company that also owns Saudia.

Flyadeal will either transfer aircraft orders from Saudia or put out a request for quotations to lease planes, said Al Jasser, who will chair the discount carrier’s board.

Saudia is also considering turboprops for domestic routes between its main airports within Saudi Arabia. It’s also studying a new hub in the south of the country with Abha being one option, he said.

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