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Saudia close to signing order of 150-plus narrow-body jets

Saudia Group plans to announce the order for new aircraft before the end of the year Saudia
Saudia Group plans to announce the order for new aircraft before the end of the year

Saudia Group, which owns the Saudia airline and budget carrier flyadeal, is close to agreeing an order for 100 narrow-body jets but wants the manufacturer to agree to supply an additional 50-plus, it said on Tuesday.

Abdullah Al Shahrani, the group’s general manager of communications and media affairs, declined to identify the aircraft manufacturer but said that supply chain issues were part of the reason it had not agreed to more than 100 jets.

“We insist on having more than 150,” Al Shahrani said in an interview at the Dubai Airshow.

“We are waiting for confirmation from the manufacturer that they are able to produce more than 150.”

Saudia Group plans to announce the order before the end of the year, Al Shahrani said, adding that the aircraft would be for its Saudia airline and low-cost carrier flyadeal.

Both airlines use planes from the Airbus A320 family of aircraft. Flyadeal decided against going ahead with a commitment to purchase Boeing 737 Max jets in 2019.

New Saudi carrier Riyadh Air has also teased a “sizeable” order of narrow-body aircraft in the coming weeks but has also declined to name the manufacturer.

State-owned Saudia is planning rapid expansion over the next seven years as part of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 plan to wean the kingdom off its oil dependence.

Air Arabia engine order

Separately, Sharjah-based low-cost carrier Air Arabia has placed an order for 240 CFM Leap-1A engines for its existing order of 120 Airbus A320neo aircraft.

The airline said the list price value of the deal was $3.36 billion.

The deal was signed on day two of the week-long Dubai Airshow, an industry event that has previously produced a frenzy of commercial aircraft and other aerospace orders.

CFM is owned by GE and France’s Safran.