First low-cost airline flies to Saudi

Saudi Arabia’s first no frills airline, nas air announced that it will start commercial domestic flights in Saudi Arabia from 25 February 2007. Its first route will be the busy Riyadh to Jeddah leg, starting with three flights daily, adding an additional flight from the end of March. At the unveiling of its brand event in Riyadh, nas air also launched its online booking facility,

nas air Chief Executive Officer, Peter Griffiths said,

“nas air will be the first budget airline to fly in the Kingdom. We are very proud of this achievement, which is testament to the soul of the airline. We are a no nonsense airline embodying a true Saudi spirit, which we hope will make us the people’s choice. We express this spirit through the use of Hayyakum, a traditional greeting to visitors in the Kingdom.”

Initial fares as well as ‘jaw dropping’ low promotional fares are available all year round, through its website, call centre, and travel agents.

“Simply put, the earlier you book, the less you will pay, particularly if you book online,’ added Griffiths. Online payment facilities utilize state-of-the-art secure electronic commerce systems and can be made with credit cards. The SADAD payment system will follow in April.


nas air’s initial fleet of three A320s will increase to a fleet of 8 by the end of 2007 as new routes are launched. Furthermore, from 31 March, the carrier will be adding additional daily flights to Madina, Jizan and Rafha.

‘The potential for the domestic market in Saudi Arabia is exceptionally strong and we anticipate high demand for our very affordable flights. We expect passenger numbers to grow as people find low-cost travel as exceptionally simple and easy to fly’, said Taher Agueel, Chief Executive Officer of NAS, the carrier’s parent company. A growth in domestic tourism, which forms an active part of the Saudi Arabian Government’s development goals, is expected to create a new market of first-time flyers within the Kingdom.

‘Everyone is welcome on nas air,’ said Peter Griffiths. ‘We believe it is everybody’s right in the Kingdom to have access to affordable, safe airline travel. We like to think of it as the people’s airline, which is why we welcome everyone to nas air with a heartfelt, Hayyakum’, he continued.

The airline’s services are similar to other budget carriers around the world, with no tickets issued. Passengers reserve seats with a reservation number available through any of the three distribution channels. There is no meal service, but light refreshments are available for purchase on the flights.

‘Some critics have claimed that Saudis will take time to feel comfortable with no frills carriers, but our research suggests otherwise. There is a great demand for reliable flights and service. We are not burdened with the costs and poor reputation of legacy carriers. We look forward to providing Saudis from every walk of life with an affordable, value-for-money service they will enjoy,’ said Griffiths.

nas air is a subsidiary of the Saudi National Air Services (NAS), a leading provider of aviation services in the Middle East. Based in Riyadh, NAS provides complete and innovative aviation services to its customers in the region. NAS products and services include NetJets Middle East, Aircraft Management Services, Aircraft Charter Services and other unique aviation solutions. It also has the fastest growing private aviation fleet in the Middle East, currently comprising more than 33 aircraft under management from global manufacturers such as Airbus, Boeing, Gulfstream, Dassault and Raytheon.

Over the next five years NAS is expected to invest more than $800 million in expanding the NetJets Middle East (NJME) fleet. More recently NAS added its portfolio Al Khayala Airlines, a $100 million, specialist point-to point airline, which caters to the niche business- and first-class travelers market.