We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Wed 23 May 2007 04:45 PM

Font Size

- Aa +

Sama eyeing more Mid-east passengers

Low-fares airline Sama will secure licences to carry passengers outside Saudi Arabia by 2008, according to its chief executive.

Low-fares airline Sama will secure licences to carry passengers outside Saudi Arabia by 2008, according to its chief executive.

Andrew Cowen believes the airline, which is seeking clearance to launch flights across the Middle East, will receive the government's backing once state-owned rival Saudian Arabian Airlines goes private next year.

"It's possibly a coincidence that Saudi is privatising in 2008, so perhaps they [the government] are trying to look after Saudi before it happens," he said.

"It's an enormous market and the Muslim world is something close to 400 million people," Cowen added. "The geography means you have significant distances to get round the region, so flying is the most practical way to do it."

Before securing a licence, Cowen wants to expand the airline's fleet to eight Boeing 737-300s from four. By 2010, Sama's management plans to have 35 aircrafts operating across the Middle East.

But the airline, which flies to Riyadh, Jeddah, Madinnah, Gizan and Dammam, will not break the bank to achieve its aims.

"It doesn't make financial sense to pile millions of dollars of capital into new aircraft," Cowen said. "The supply is tight at the moment and narrow body availability, certainly for Boeing, is very limited all the way up to 2012. Airbus is pretty similar, so it doesn't make sense to put at risk your growth by not being able to get equipment in."

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Real news, real analysis and real insight have real value – especially at a time like this. Unlimited access ArabianBusiness.com can be unlocked for as little as $4.75 per month. Click here for more details.