Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Saudi low-cost airline budgets for expansion

Flyadeal Saudi airline Flyadeal
Flyadeal flies to destinations in the Middle East, Europe and North Africa, and plans to launch in South Asia
  • Flyadeal adds more international flights
  • Expects domestic growth as country develops tourism
  • Kingdom launched Riyadh Air and Neom Airlines this year

Saudi Arabia’s Flyadeal is set to add four new aircraft to its fleet this year as it realises its international ambitions.

The budget carrier, owned by Saudia, the kingdom’s flagship operator, was launched in 2017 to serve the domestic market and is now the second largest operator in the country behind Saudia.

Flyadeal launched international operations at the tail-end of the coronavirus pandemic and currently flies to destinations in the Middle East, Europe and North Africa. It has plans to launch in South Asia later this year.

CEO Con Korfiatis said Flyadeal will add five new aircraft this year and is expected to take its fleet size of A320 aircraft up to 32 by the end of the year, serving 36 cities in total.

Korfiatis told AGBI: “Internationally we’re barely scratching the surface. This year we’ll be doubling down more on that space as we go forward into next year and beyond.”

In 2019 Flyadeal carried around 4 million passengers, which increased to 6 million last year and is expected to hit the 9 million mark by the end of this year, serving 18 cities in total.

Saudi Arabia has set itself ambitious tourism targets to increase the tourism sector’s contribution to 10 percent of GDP by 2030 and to attract 100 million visitors to the kingdom.

In March the country announced the creation of two new airlines: Riyadh Air, which is wholly owned by the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, and Neom Airlines, a dedicated fleet to serve the $500 billion Neom city in the north west of the kingdom.

As competition increases in the kingdom and across the Middle East, Korfiatis insisted that there is still growth potential in the low-cost market.

He said: “We haven’t got the millions of customers we have through stealing from other airlines. We’ve actually come in and grown the market.

“The product is nowhere near mature in the kingdom and obviously we want to take it to the next level.”

Latest articles

Tourism to contribute $64bn to UAE’s economy in 2024

The tourism sector’s contribution to the UAE’s economy is expected to reach AED236 billion ($64 billion) in 2024, accounting for 12 percent of the overall GDP, a senior government official has said.  The sector contributed AED220 billion to the GDP last year, accounting for almost 12 percent of the overall economy, Khaled Al Midfa, chairman of Sharjah […]

Helmet, Adult, Male

Saudi Aramco’s $10bn share sale slated for next month

Saudi Aramco’s anticipated share sale is expected to take place next month, according to a media report. The offering is projected to raise nearly $10 billion and will be listed on the local stock exchange, Reuters reported, citing unnamed informed sources.  The sources said details may still change, but the process continues. In September 2023, […]

Indoors, Restaurant, Cafeteria

Hong Kong’s airport lounge operator targets Saudi expansion

Hong Kong’s airport lounge operator, Plaza Premium Group (PPG), has earmarked $100 million to expand across the Middle East, focusing on Saudi Arabia. The regional expansion is part of its three-year $300 million global expansion plan. The funds will be allocated to opening lounges, establishing an airport concierge service with white-glove service, opening innovative dining outlets and exploring […]

Russians Turkey Istanbul Bridge

Russians rush from Turkey as costs and restrictions bite

Rising costs, increased difficulties in obtaining residency permits and tighter enforcement of restrictions on the number of foreign nationals who can live in popular regions are prompting an exodus of Russian citizens from Turkey.  The number of Russian nationals holding Turkish residence permits has plunged to just over 96,000 as of May 16, down from […]