Vueling Sends 3 Airbus A320s To Saudi Arabia’s flyadeal

Three Airbus A320 aircraft are currently flying from Barcelona in Spain to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia to spend the winter working for low-cost startup Flyadeal. The Saudia sister airline recently negotiated a wet lease agreement with Vueling to use the aircraft to add capacity until March 2020. All three appear to be in full Vueling livery with just the Flyadeal name added to the side.

Flyadeal is wet leasing three A320s from Vueling. Photo: Flyadeal

Three A320s heading to Flyadeal

Three A320s are currently in transit from Barcelona to Jeddah, on their way to a new temporary home with Saudi low-cost carrier Flyadeal. The three aircraft in question are registered EC-LVU, EC-LVO and EC-LLI. The flights are expected to touch down at between 17:30 and 18:30 local time, each flying around 30 minutes behind the last.

Vueling flyadeal flights
The first A320 is arriving in Jeddah now. You can see the other two following the same flight path behind. Image: FlightRadar24

It was reported by CAPA in September that Flyadeal was negotiating an ACMI agreement with Vueling. It seems that the deal was successful, and now these Vueling aircraft will head out to Saudi Arabia to be put to good use in expanding Flyadeal’s capacity.

Reports suggest that these aircraft will operate for Flyadeal until March 2020 on a wet lease basis. Interestingly, they are all still in Vueling livery, but with the Flyadeal label on the fuselage of the aircraft.

Flyadeal wants quick expansion

Although it only launched around two years ago, Flyadeal has been doing well for itself. Right now, its fleet of 11 Airbus A320s flies to eight cities, operating some 80 flights per day and around 15,000 seats, according to The National.

Last year, it placed an order for 50 Boeing 737 MAX which would have begun delivering this year. However, the aircraft was grounded and no deliveries took place. Not willing to wait, Flyadeal scrapped the $6bn order and turned to Airbus instead. Speaking with The National about the cancellation of the MAX, CEO Con Korfiatis said.

“It wasn’t at incremental capacity we were looking at, it was growth and we’re still a young airline and need to grow. There’s lots of markets that are begging for us and we still don’t have a comprehensive domestic network, and we don’t fly internationally. We just felt at this point in our lifecycle, it would be very damaging to delay growth while we wait for an outcome when we didn’t know when that may be.”

flyadeal A320
Flyadeal will now be an all-Airbus airline. Photo: Flyadeal

Airbus has now secured an order for 30 A320neos which will start delivering in 2021. Although these are thought to be primarily for domestic routes, the CEO has been clear about the airline’s ambitions to fly internationally also. He said,

“There’s variants of A320 family that give longer range. And I think over time, definitely that would be of interest to us.”

It seems the A321XLR could be on his radar, given the huge range promised by the new aircraft. Indeed, it could take the airline from its base in Jeddah as far as London. However, the long lead time for the delivery of these aircraft has been stunting the carrier’s growth.

It seems Flyadeal is keen to have more capacity fast, and as such is wet leasing these A320s from Vueling to provide interim capacity until its new aircraft begin delivering.

What do you think about these aircraft heading to Jeddah? Have you tried Flyadeal? Let us know in the comments.