Saudi Arabia will launch its new budget airline next month, aiming to boost tourism and cater to the kingdom's youth.
The kingdom announced the creation of the low-cost carrier Flyadeal in April of 2016. The airline will operate as a no-frills subsidiary of the kingdom's flagship carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia).
"We see enormous opportunity to offer more choice, particularly out of another base," Flyadeal Chief Executive Con Korfiatis said Thursday, according to Gulf News.
Flyadeal's first flight is slated to launch on Sep. 23. To start out, the airline will offer domestic trips and plans to expand to international travel before mid-2018.
Following the international budget-airline model, the new carrier will offer low prices, but charge extra fees for food, baggage and entertainment options. The airline aims to cater to the Saudi youth (under 25, which are estimated to compose about 50 percent of the 21 million Saudi population (excluding 10 million expats).
“We saw the low fares airline space as a white space for us to grow into,” Korfiatis said.
“We are primarily looking to come in and stimulate rather than have to survive on taking from anybody else," he said, suggesting the airline will cater to individuals who are currently unlikely to book flights on traditional carriers.
To launch, Flyadeal has leased eight Airbus A320 aircraft from Dubai Aerospace Enterprises (DAE). The first of the aircraft arrived in Saudi Arabia this week, with the second arriving within a couple weeks.
By 2020, the airline plans to operate a fleet of some 50 aircraft. The airline will compete with the kingdom's other low-cost carrier Flynas, which currently flies to 17 domestic and 15 international destinations.
"While larger airlines are being cautious regarding fleet and route expansion, the region’s budget airlines are considering growth plans," The National reports.
Other low-cost carriers in the region include Sharjah-based AirArabia and Dubai-based Fly Dubai.
As Saudi Arabia aims to grow its tourism sector significantly as part of its ambitious Vision 2030, Flyadeal will work toward transporting tourists within and to the kingdom.