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Mon 25 Apr 2016 08:17 PM

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Saudi airline Flyadeal to have 25-50 aircraft by 2020, says exec

New budget carrier will fly both domestic and regional routes; is part of kingdom's expansion of air services

Saudi airline Flyadeal to have 25-50 aircraft by 2020, says exec

Saudi Arabian budget carrier Flyadeal, launched last week, aims to have up to 50 planes flying by 2020, a senior executive said on Monday.

Flyadeal, a subsidiary of the state-controlled holding company that also owns national carrier Saudia, will fly both domestic and regional routes and is part of the kingdom's expansion of air services.

It will begin services in mid-2017, operate 25-50 planes by 2020 and will obtain these via new leasing agreements or from sister airline Saudia, Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) director-general Saleh al-Jasser told reporters at a travel exhibition in Dubai.

The new airline's fleet will be narrow-body aircraft, either the Airbus A320 or Boeing's 737, he said.

"It will be leased aircraft," said Jasser, who will sit on Flyadeal's board.

"We are assessing the options whether to transfer some of the order (by Saudia) that we have or to go through an RFQ (request for quotation)."

Flyadeal could break even within 2-3 years, he predicted.

Loss-making Saudia is being restructured with the aim of regaining profitability by 2020 so that it can list on Riyadh's bourse, Jasser said.

"The listing, it's not yet decided when, maybe even earlier (than 2020)," said Jasser.

He said the size of the stake to be floated had yet to be decided although when two of Saudia's units - Saudi Airlines Catering Co and Saudi Ground Services Co - went public, 30 percent of their shares were sold to the public.

Saudia has also begun the process to take its cargo division public.

"We are working with investment banks. We will submit the files during this year and there's a process that will take some time," added Jasser, declining to reveal the cargo unit's valuation.

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