flynas to buy Airbus aircraft worth $8.6 billion

The deal with Airbus, which would replace and expand a fleet of leased A320s, would give flynas one of the largest Middle East low-cost fleets.
Updated 12 January 2017
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flynas to buy Airbus aircraft worth $8.6 billion

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s flynas has struck a deal with Airbus to buy planes worth SR32 billion ($8.6 billion), Kingdom Holding, which owns 34.1 percent of the budget carrier, said on Wednesday.
Airbus finalized a deal to sell more than 60 jets to flynas, industry sources told Reuters on Tuesday, with one adding that the order was expected to cover more than 60 A320neo narrow body planes.
Kingdom Holding, the investment firm owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, did not specify how many or which model of aircraft flynas had purchased, but it added that the first batch will be received early in 2018.
The A320neo sale would be Airbus’ first in the Middle East since Qatar Airways refused deliveries in December 2015 and said it would swap its order for a larger version.
Flynas, which launched as Nas Air in 2007 and first turned a profit in 2015, had been negotiating an order for at least 60 narrow body jets with Airbus and rival planemaker Boeing since as early as April 2016.
Flynas Chief Executive Paul Byrne said on April 27 whichever manufacturer it chose would over time become the sole supplier.
The order, which would replace and expand a fleet of leased A320s, would give flynas one of the largest Middle East low-cost fleets after state-owned flydubai, which operate 57 Boeing 737-800s and has more than 100 scheduled for delivery by 2023.
Flynas is facing increasing competition domestically, where it conducts the majority of its operations. Start-up SaudiGulf Airlines and Saudi-owned, Egypt-based Nesma airline were both granted domestic operating licenses in 2016, while state-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines has announced plans for its own budget carrier, Flyadeal, to launch in mid-2017 with a target of 50 jets by 2020.
Qatar Airways-owned Al Maha is waiting for a domestic Saudi operating license. Saudi Arabia wants to expand its aviation and tourism sectors. It plans to encourage non-religious tourism as part of major national reforms aimed at moving the country’s economy away from oil dependence.


Qatar Airways confirms ‘substantial’ annual loss, blames row with regional neighbors

Updated 3 min 3 sec ago
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Qatar Airways confirms ‘substantial’ annual loss, blames row with regional neighbors

ANTALYA, Turkey: Qatar Airways made a “substantial” loss in its last financial year because of a regional dispute that has banned the airline from four Arab countries, its chief executive said on Wednesday without revealing the extent of the losses.
Qatar Airways has been blocked from flying to 18 cities in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt since June when those countries cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Doha denies the charges.
“We have increased our operating costs. We had to also take a hit on revenues so we don’t think that our results for the last financial year will be very good,” Chief Executive Akbar Al-Baker told reporters at the Eurasia Airshow in Antalya, Turkey.
“I don’t want to say the size of the loss but it was substantial.”
Other parts of the business were profitable though that was not enough to make up for the airline loss, Baker said.
Qatar Airways has several subsidiaries including airport ground handling services and catering units.
The airline had warned of the loss for several months.
The state-owned airline will need another eight weeks to finalize its books and make adjustments before it announces its financial results for the year to March 31, Baker said.
Qatar Airways made 1.97 billion Qatari riyals ($541 million) profit in its previous fiscal year.
Neighboring Saudi Arabia and the UAE were popular routes for Qatar Airways, which has also been banned from the airspace of the four boycotting states.