By Daniel Shane
Budget carrier had previously planned to launch stock market flotation in 2014, although chairman now unsure of current timeframe
Saudi Arabian budget airline flyNas is unsure over whether its proposed initial public offering (IPO) will go ahead during 2014 as previously thought, according to the chairman of the carrier’s holding company.
The operator, setup in 2007 to serve primarily domestic routes in the Gulf kingdom, has recently undergone a major strategic shift which has seen it rebrand from nasair, announce long-haul routes to London and Paris, and replace its CEO. It also pulled back from a proposal to begin flying to Dubai’s new Al Maktoum International Airport.
Sulaiman Al Hamdan, chairman of Nas Holding, has previously said he hoped that the IPO would go ahead in the first quarter of 2014. The airline has appointed Saudi Fransi Capital as bookrunner and Deloitte as its accountant.
“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,” Al Hamdan told Arabian Business. “I’m not quite sure to be honest. I can’t give any specific answer here.”
Al Hamdan also said that he was not certain if the airline would achieve its first full year of profitability in 2013, which the carrier had previously claimed it on track to reach.
FlyNas, which operates out of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, will open two new additional hubs in Madinah and Taif next year, and is also seeking new operating bases outside of the Gulf kingdom.
The airline is currently in the process of phasing out its Embraer jets as it moves to an all Airbus A320 fleet, having received an additional four of the Toulouse-made aircraft earlier in the year.
FlyNas will also launch business class cabins on all of its services from early in 2014, as it seeks to compete with upcoming domestic services provided by new market entrants backed by Qatar Airways and Bahrain’s Gulf Air.