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Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund in talks to buy stake in Flynas 

Aircraft, Airliner, Airplane Flynas
Flynas is partly owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding, in which PIF purchased a 17% stake last year

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is in talks to buy a stake in Flynas, a Riyadh-headquartered low-cost carrier, Bloomberg reported, citing informed sources.

Goldman Sachs Group is advising shareholders on the potential sale to the sovereign fund. 

The airline is partly owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Co., in which PIF purchased a 17 percent stake last year.

Flynas had been planning a potential listing, the news report said, but the floatation could be delayed if the stake sale to PIF goes ahead. 

The airline has been weighing an initial public offering (IPO) since 2008 and hired Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc. and NCB Capital for a potential deal in 2018.

Flynas is setting up local units in two more countries and expanding its existing jet orders to become the Middle East’s largest low-cost airline.

In March, Saudi Arabia launched a new national airline – Riyadh Air – expected to create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs and add $20 billion to the kingdom’s non-oil economy.

The new airline, headquartered in the Saudi capital and wholly owned by PIF, will be chaired by Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of PIF. Tony Douglas, the former CEO of Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, has been appointed chief executive officer. 

Riyadh Air will connect the capital city to over 100 destinations by 2030.

In what was a busy month for the kingdom’s aviation industry, March also saw the launch of a second new carrier in the shape of Neom Airlines.

Solely serving the $500 billion Neom city in the north west of the country, the first flights for tourists, residents and commercial partners are scheduled to take off in the fourth quarter of 2024,