| 3 February 2023, Friday |

Saudia in talks with Airbus, Boeing for wide-body jets, CEO says

Saudi Arabian Airlines’ chief executive said on Sunday that the airline is in talks with Airbus and Boeing about a wide-body jet order, with a decision expected next year.

The state-owned carrier, also known as Saudia, intends to rapidly expand over the next eight years as part of the government’s plan to transform the kingdom into a transportation hub.

“A good size fleet order will have to be placed,” Chief Executive Ibrahim Koshy told Reuters at the Dubai Airshow, without specifying how many planes would be ordered.

“It’s something that will happen.” Without a doubt, in 2022.”

According to him, the order will help fuel network expansion to 135 mostly international destinations by 2030, up from 90 in 2019, which included 28 in Saudi Arabia.

Later, it will place orders to replace older aircraft and expand its narrow body fleet, while some aircraft types will be phased out to simplify the fleet, according to Koshy.

Saudia is growing ahead of the planned launch of a new state-owned airline based in Riyadh.

“The country’s growth actually justifies the addition of a second carrier as a full-service airline.”

Koshy stated that once the new airline begins operations, it will focus on developing a hub in Jeddah and will operate to 200 combined destinations with its low-cost unit by 2030.

Saudia anticipates significant growth in Asia Pacific and the Americas, with its unit carrying a combined 85 million passengers per year by 2030, up from 35 million in 2019.

According to Koshy, Saudia, one of the Middle East’s oldest airlines, could return to profitability by 2024, when it expects to return to pre-pandemic passenger traffic levels.

  • alarabiya