Low-cost Saudia Arabian carrier flynas has confirmed a firm order for 10 new Airbus A321XLR aircraft at the Dubai Air Show. The 10-plane order has a 2018 list price of $1.42 billion and adds to flynas’ existing backlog, which now stands at 90 aircraft. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2025.
Who is flynas?
Flynas is a low-cost carrier based out of three hubs in the Gulf State, specifically King Abdulaziz International Airport, King Khalid International Airport and King Fahd International Airport. It has a fleet of 27 A320ceos and four A320neos.
The airline, which is partly owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding, launched in 2007 and has followed a rapid expansion plan to grow its fleet and add new routes. In 2018, the budget carrier catered to around 6.6 million passengers on 60,000 domestic and international flights.
Flynas took delivery of its first A320neo in November of last year. It was the first Saudi Arabian airline to acquire an A320neo.
What are the details?
Initially, the airline signed a purchase order for 60 A320neo aircraft in 2017. At the same time, it upgraded 20 A320ceo from a 2016 order to the A320neo model and included an optional purchase order for another 40 aircraft.
Then, in June of this year, during the Paris Air Show, the Saudi Arabian carrier furthered its agreement with Airbus by signing a memorandum of understanding to upsize some of the existing order to the A321XLR model.
Today, flynas confirmed a firm order for an additional 10 A321XLR aircraft during day three of the Dubai Airshow. The airline now has a total backlog order for 90 A320 family aircraft. The agreement was signed by Bandar Almohanna, flynas’ Chief Executive Officer, and Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer.
In a press statement from flynas Bander Almohanna, says “Flynas is pleased to announce a firm order of 10 x A321XLR, which will increase the total number of its firm order of A320 family aircraft type to 90 aircraft at list price worth 10 USD 10 billion.”
Flynas expansion plans
The carrier plans to use this new fleet of A321XLRs to launch new routes to destinations in Europe and Asia and to increase the frequency of flights on existing routes.
Delivery is expected to begin in 2025, but in a statement at the show, flynas’ chief executive Bandar Almohanna said that if the airline could take delivery of the aircraft immediately, it would. In a statement at the Airshow and reported by Reuters, Almohanna said: “I don’t think any airline that has an order of A320 family (jets) is not frustrated,”. Airbus has been plagued with production issues this year and was forced to cut its delivery goal for 2019.
When delivery finally happens, the Airbus A321XLRs would facilitate the airline’s expansion to destinations in Europe and Asia as it offers a range of 4,700 nautical miles. Additionally, Airbus claims the aircraft will use 30% less fuel and emit 5,000 tons less carbon dioxide per year.
The flynas statement stresses the importance of the long-range on the A321XLRs: “These 10 XLRs will expand the reach of flynas network to much farther destinations with support of significantly longer flying range compared to the existing A320neo order“.
Recent changes to Saudi Arabian laws are also likely to improve the country’s tourism, something which flynas chairman Ayed Al Jeaid said the airline is keen to exploit with the new fleet of aircraft. The flynas statement mentions their expanding fleet as a part of Saudi Arabia’s 2030 vision for “increasing the number of Religious pilgrims to 4 times the current level“.
Saudi Arabia has the largest domestic aviation market in the Middle East and is continuing to grow. Flynas will be well placed to grow with it as it begins to take delivery of its new A321XLRs in coming years.
What do you think of flynas’ rapid expansion? Will the long-range on the A321XLRs help them get a hold of the European and Asian markets? Let us know in the comments below.