Posted on: 11 September 2018 by Mark Howells
Saudi Arabian low-cost carrier flyadeal is within weeks of making a decision on an order for 50 narrow-body aircraft.
The Jeddah-based airline’s CEO, Con Korfiatis, said at the recent Aviation Festival in London that it was “going to the board in the next few weeks with our recommendation.” Korfiatis, speaking during a conference session at the event, said the airline was only looking at Boeing MAX 8 and Airbus A320neo aircraft for this order after going out to the market with a request for proposals earlier this year.
Flyadeal, fully owned by Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), is just coming up to a year of operation and currently has eight A320ceos in its fleet, with three more due to arrive by the end of the year.
Korfiatis went on to highlight the carrier’s plans to expand potential passenger traffic wanting to travel to the world’s two most religious Islamic sites, both in Saudi Arabia, from regions such as SE Asia. “It’s not out of the question that you will see a flyadeal logo on a widebody in the future,” he said.
The CEO went on to give an insight into the current passenger booking behaviour domestically, pointing out that it is “a very late-booking market. Like two or three days out only! It will take some time to change that behaviour.”
Other wider global issues such as the scarcity of new commercial pilots is something else on his mind, he added, saying that the carrier is looking at how it can “create a pipeline of local pilots in Saudi Arabia going forward. So far, we’ve been using international pilots and only a small pool of Saudia pilots.”
Flyadeal’s start of operations in September last year has created a lot of industry interest, especially as it was launched entirely digitally, with approximately 95% of its customers booking online. “It’s nirvana for LCCs to achieve that. We’re approaching two million customers in less than a year.”
Saudi Arabia has a population of 32 million, with approximately half of the kingdom being less than 25 years of age. The Saudi government has plans for a new Jeddah terminal to help expand capacity to around 30 million passengers.