Saudi’s FlyNas not scared of new rivals, says chairman

  • Share via facebook
  • Tweet this
  • Bookmark and Share

The head of the Saudi Arabian budget airline FlyNas has said he is not worried by the competition posed by new players set to enter the market next year, despite frustration over subsidies offered by local aviation authorities.

Saudi is currently served by just FlyNas and government-run Saudi Arabian Airlines, but these will be joined in 2014 by a Qatar Airways-backed Al Maha Airways and Saudi Gulf Airlines, which this year won licences to operate domestic services.

“Competition will bring the best for customers at one end and it will bring a good pressure on all of the operators to provide good service,” Sulaiman Al Hamdan, chairman of FlyNas holding company Nas Holding, told Arabian Business.

“The size of Saudi Arabia is quite huge, it’s three quarters of the entire size of Europe and there are areas that are extremely underserved. The main hubs where we operate to and from are also underserved. So the market is there. We try to fill some of the gap, but we can’t fill all of the gap,” he added.

FlyNas, which operates 19 Airbus A320 aircraft across a network of 30 domestic and international destinations, recently underwent a major rebrand which included the introduction of business class and long-haul services ahead of the new entrants’ arrival.

Al Hamdan expressed frustration over the Saudi aviation market’s skewed competitive landscape, which sees Saudia offered hefty subsidies on fuel, which may also be extended to new domestic players. FlyNas’s fuel expenses are so high, he says, that the airline refuels its jets in neighbouring countries.

“We’ve been informed that there are certain packages designed for the newcomers, and we were hoping that those would be released so as to benefit us,” he added.

Al Hamdan announced in 2012 plans for an initial public offering (IPO) in Riyadh in the first quarter of 2014. The airline has since appointed Saudi Fransi Capital as bookrunner for the flotation, but Al Hamdan concedes that the original timeframe may prove tough to stick to, with the IPO potentially not even taking place next year at all.

“We are providing all the necessary information that they require... It’s very difficult to guess or to decide when, because there are so many other factors,” he said. “I’m not quite sure to be honest. I can’t give any specific answer here.”

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

Enter the words above: Enter the numbers you hear:

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Stronger together? Reviewing Emirates' historic partnership with Qantas

Stronger together? Reviewing Emirates' historic partnership with Qantas

One year after the “historic” Emirates-Qantas partnership deal...

Air Arabia to use tried and tested model in Ras Al Khaimah

Air Arabia to use tried and tested model in Ras Al Khaimah

Air Arabia signed an agreement last month to become the official...

Is Saudi Arabia ready for take off?

Is Saudi Arabia ready for take off?

Saudi Arabia has announced two new airlines and $30bn worth of...

Most Discussed
  • 15
    Germany puzzled as UAE think tank ordered to close

    Matt, your words sound kind of funny given the role the Britain has played in this region for so many decades.
    And given the democratic tradition that... more

    Thursday, 17 April 2014 7:10 PM - one of the joes
  • 10
    UAE father who whipped son to death wins appeal

    "Under Sharia, a parent cannot be executed for killing their child"
    A spouse could be executed if he/she kills his/her spouse, as none of them is... more

    Friday, 18 April 2014 3:38 PM - Nihar
  • 3
    To diet or not to diet?

    It is best to eat by your blood type. Following this diet is miraculous. Generic diets don't always work as certain foods are not good for the individual... more

    Friday, 18 April 2014 11:49 AM - Shamira Mitha
  • 54
    Three UAE women attacked with hammer at London hotel

    I really feel that Arabian Business.Com should now close this comments page. This should be all about sympathy for the families not what it is/has turned... more

    Wednesday, 16 April 2014 1:06 PM - Adrienne
  • 51
    Why Dubai isn't a plastic city

    What is definitely not a plastic city. The Arabs have a culture dating back to several centuries. 50 years back Dubai was just a fishing village. Today... more

    Tuesday, 8 April 2014 3:49 PM - P. MADHUSUDAN
  • 48
    DMCC boss Ahmed Bin Sulayem entertains Robert Mugabe in Dubai

    @fga ''However today, simply because he decided to dispossess a few white farmers of their land and redistribute to the poorer indigenous blacks'' more

    Sunday, 13 April 2014 3:02 PM - Matt Williams