By Staff writer
Carrier said to have received regulatory approvals from civil aviation authority
Saudi Arabia’s new airline is set to begin domestic flights from June 22, according to reports from the kingdom.
SaudiGulf airline will receive the necessary regulatory approvals in June, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said in a statement on Friday.
It will operate from its base at King Fahad International Airport (KFIA) in Dammam, Saudi Gazette reported.
The new airline said on its Facebook page in October that it was scheduled to start flights by November. However, the launch was delayed for reasons that remains unclear.
The airline’s domestic flights are to offer first class and economy fares, while international flights will provide business class and economy class services.
It will initially use four Airbus A320s before acquiring 16 Bombardier CS300s following a $2 billion deal with Canada-based Bombardier last year.
SaudiGulf is one of two new carriers that have been preparing to launch services in the kingdom under the country’s plans to privatise its domestic aviation sector.
The other planned new airline is Qatar Airways-backed Al Maha Airways. Both airlines have been awaiting an air operator’s certificate (AOC) from GACA for more than 18 months. It is understood that SaudiGulf’s has been granted and will be officially handed over on June 22.
At present, Saudi aviation is dominated by flagship carrier Saudia, which holds around 90 percent of the market, with low-cost carrier flynas making up the remainder.
Another low-cost carrier, Flyadeal, is expected to launch in 2017.