Flyadeal’s launch puts Saudia at higher altitude

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Updated 19 April 2016
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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.


India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

Updated 19 April 2019
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India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

  • Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries
  • India said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”

NEW DELHI: India has suspended trade across its disputed Kashmir border with Pakistan, alleging that weapons and drugs are being smuggled across the route, as tensions simmer between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries and brought the two countries to the brink of war with cross-border air strikes.
On Thursday, India’s government, which is in the middle of a tough national election, said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency.”
It also said many of those trading across the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir into zones under Indian and Pakistani control, had links to militant organizations.
The home ministry said trade would be suspended until a stricter inspection mechanism is in place.
The cross-border trade is based on a barter system, with traders exchanging goods including chillies, cumin, mango and dried fruit.
It began in 2008 as a way to improve strained relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, who have fought two of their three wars over the disputed region.
The Indian Express newspaper said Friday that 35 trucks carrying fruit traveling from the Indian side of the border had been stopped after the government order.
Trade on the border has been suspended before, including in 2015, when India accused a Pakistani driver of drug trafficking.
The latest move comes after India withdrew “Most Favoured Nation Status” — covering trade links — from Pakistan after the February attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed Islamist group.
Islamabad has denied any involvement in the attack.
India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made national security a key plank of his re-election campaign, pointing to the recent flare-up of violence as he battles the center-left opposition Congress party.
He is seeking a second term from the country’s 900 million voters in the mammoth election which kicked off on April 11 and runs till May 19. The results will be out on May 23.