Flyadeal’s launch puts Saudia at higher altitude

1 / 2
2 / 2
Updated 19 April 2016
0

Flyadeal’s launch puts Saudia at higher altitude

JEDDAH: The Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) has announced its entry into the low-cost airline market with the launch of flyadeal, which will begin operation next year.
Addressing a press conference at the King Abdulaziz International Airport on Sunday, Saleh Al-Jasser, Saudia’s director general, said the airline would serve both domestic and international sectors.
Headquartered in Jeddah, flyadeal is likely to begin domestic service in mid-2017 using one class A320 aircraft and will subsequently serve both domestic and international flights, Al-Jasser said.
Sulaiman Al-Hamdan, president of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) and chairman of Saudia airlines’ board of directors, along with a number of chief executives of the strategic units of Saudia, aviation experts and journalists were among those present at the launch ceremony.
The new carrier will be an addition to the list of strategic initiatives being implemented toward the National Transformation Program, Al-Jasser added.

“The new airline aims to deliver value for money to cost-conscious customers. It will be a single-class low fare carrier, which means we are focused on getting people from A to B for a fair price,” Al-Jasser was quoted as saying on social media.
Owned by Saudi Arabian Airlines Company, flyadeal will operate independent of Saudia by having its own management and strategic plans.
Al-Jasser emphasized that as a low-cost airline, flyadeal will be committed to providing high level of service while maintaining the highest safety standards.
He added that the trademark for the new company has been registered and its operating license is under process at GACA.
He said flyadeal will be under Saudi Arabian Airlines Holding Group with complete autonomy from Saudia as a separate strategic business unit.
Al-Jasser said: “We expect to serve the main trunk routes, including the capital city of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam and key regional markets.”
Mark Breen, head of transformation at Saudia Holding Company, told Arab News that the Saudia Group’s SV2020 Transformation Strategy aims to transform the Saudia Group of business units into world-class organizations by 2020.
“The launch of flyadeal as the Kingdom’s newest national air carrier will serve both domestic and international destinations with the highest quality of safety and service in a special innovative way using best industry practices with latest technology. We have a network plan and we will announce further details when flyadeal gets closer to commencement of operations next year,” he said.
Breen said initially flyadeal will serve domestic routes but will in time expand to other regional routes. Definitely we will grow our capacity for our guests within the Kingdom, providing affordable high quality services at the lowest fare.
He added that flyadeal will also serve Haj and Umrah passengers throughout the region.
Breen said tourism is developing in the Kingdom, so we will also grow to support this need to serve the traveling public.
Earlier, Saudia announced the launch of Al Bayraq, a special VIP service, which coincides with Saudia’s 2020 strategic plan that aims to take the airline to greater heights, doubling its fleet and passenger numbers during the next five years. Al Bayraq is expected to start operations soon.
Al-Jasser quoted saying earlier that Saudia plans to expand its fleet from 119 to 200 aircraft by 2020 and improve services to attract increased passenger numbers under its 2015-2020 plan.
Saudi Arabia is already home to flynas, the nine-year-old low-cost carrier, which operates domestic and international routes.


Kuwait Projects Co. hires Goldman Sachs for sale of OSN — sources

Updated 21 November 2018
0

Kuwait Projects Co. hires Goldman Sachs for sale of OSN — sources

DUBAI: Kuwait Projects Co. (KIPCO), the Gulf state’s largest investment company, has hired Goldman Sachs to advise it on the sale of its majority stake in pay-television operator OSN, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
OSN, which this year signed the first partnership deal in the region with Netflix, posted a 71 percent drop in income in the three months to Sept. 30, according to KIPCO’s latest financial results.
KIPCO and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.
KIPCO said in the results, released last week, that the company’s board had approved initiating a plan to divest its 60.5 percent equity interest in Panther Media Group, also known as OSN, and had engaged an international investment banker for the purpose. It did not disclose the name of the banker.
With the rights to broadcast into countries across the Middle East and North Africa, OSN has more than 180 channels, according to its website. Its other shareholder is Mawarid Group.
OSN faces subdued demand in its core markets due to piracy, geopolitical factors and fiscal reforms by governments which have led to sizeable expatriate populations leaving some of its core markets, said Anuj Rohtagi, director of group financial control at KIPCO in KIPCO’s third-quarter earnings conference call on Nov. 15. He added OSN was taking action to cut costs and attract new customers.
It is not the first time KIPCO has explored offloading at least some of its stake in OSN. In 2014, it said it planned to start the process for an initial public offering of OSN shares.