Friday, November 22, 2013

Saudi Arabia's Domestic Market, The Final Stretch.

When everyone almost forgot about the two operating licenses that GACA awarded to Qatar Airways and Gulf Air-Abdel Hadi Al-Qahtani and Sons Co in late 2012. 

During the Dubai 2013 Qatar Airways announced it will launch Al Maha Airways in the first half of 2014 using aircraft from Qatar Airways. However, the management of Al Maha Airways will be independent from the airline and staff will be directly hired.

Similarly, Al Qahtani Group announced the launch of Saudi Gulf Airlines based in Dammam. Gulf Air denied that it has applied for or was awarded an operating license by GACA. Gulf Air is a consultant to the new airline assisting it in obtaining GACA approvals. The airline will start operating in Winter 2014. To date Saudi Gulf Airlines have not indicated the type of equipment it will be operating.

Both airlines will start operating to major cities (Riyadh and Jeddah), second tier cities, regional and international route as they develop.

How much coordination, and there will be some, between Al Maha Airways and its owner Qatar Airways is something to look for in the near future. 

As we await developments of the new airlines; Nasair the low cost carrier has followed in the footsteps of flydubai and will introduce business class on some of its routes, primarily for religious tourism and eventually for corporate clients.

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