By Chris Jackson
Saudi budget carrier to take over several routes from Saudia in wake of new gov't regulations.
Budget carrier Nas Air has said it will add over 300 weekly flights following its takeover of several routes from Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) at the end of October.
The transfer of routes comes in accordance with the recently announced Air Traffic Privatisation Act, which has granted licences to budget carriers to operate in the kingdom, and set mandatory destinations to be served by each airline.
Domestic routes, including those to Dammam, Tabuk, Abha, Gassim and Hail are among those being transferred between the carriers, with Saudia to stop serving those destinations from October 28.
The carrier, operated as a strategic business unit of the National Air Service (NAS), will offer seats for 49 riyals ($13) on all routes for bookings made between September 18 and 30, for travel between October 29 and the end of March next year.
NAS president Taher Agueel said the carrier recognised the high demand for budget services connecting to Riyadh.
"We are delighted to be adding other attractive routes to our network. A greater choice of routes is good news for passengers, and is also a major boost for tourism in the Kingdom, which will now enjoy an upsurge in year-round visitors and benefit the local economy," he said.
"When we started operations last February, Nas Air has promised the Saudi public affordable fares and safe transportation, to facilitate travel for all segments of the population. Today, is a milestone for the kingdom, with our airline providing more available seats accessible to everyone, in order to save time flying, instead of using the bus or car."
The expansion means the number of routes serviced by Nas Air has jumped from four to 23, with the airline forecasting a fleet expansion to service the increased capacity.