New Saudi airline buys Canadian jets

Last updated 10:07 20/01/2014

Relevant offers

News

Budget Buster: Eight tips for getting cheap rental cars Which Kiwi beach is one of the world's 5 best hidden gems? DoC's $60 park fee idea: Could New Zealand follow South America's example? Low-cost Norwegian Air announces $90 flights from US to Europe Captain Cook commemorations, in Marlborough, to celebrate two cultures Forrest GrapeRide entries down due to quake-hit highway Life in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: What it's really like Earthquake creates new dive chances on sunken Soviet ship Mikhail Lermontov Cathay Pacific release a beer brewed just for drinking in the air Photographers capture underwater life in amazing detail for competition

Saudi Gulf Airlines, a new carrier born of the deregulation of Saudi Arabia's aviation market, has signed a US$2 billion deal with Canada's Bombardier Inc to buy 16 CSeries jets with options for 10 more, the airline's owner said.

Delivery of the CS300 jets, which seat between 130 and 160 passengers, is expected between the end of 2015 and the start of 2016, said Samer al-Magali, president of the Abdel Hadi al-Qahtani group.

Dammam-based Saudi Gulf is expected to start operating later this year or next year, Magali told reporters at the Bahrain International Airshow, saying the US$2 billion referred to the list price for the planes and options.

The group is ready to buy or lease around six other planes until the CSeries jets are delivered, he added.

"Saudi Gulf will be launched once we have the technical licence from the civil aviation authority," said Magali, a former chief executive of Bahrain's national carrier Gulf Air

Saudi Arabia started opening up its aviation market in 2012 by awarding additional carrier licences. Population growth and rapidly rising incomes mean there is considerable room for expansion, analysts believe.

Currently, only national carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines and budget airline National Air Services serve a domestic market of about 27 million people. Foreign carriers can only fly in and out of Saudi Arabia, not within the country.

The Bombardier order will initially be funded by the al-Qahtani group but the main funding will come from lenders, Magali said without elaborating. The planes will be used within Saudi Arabia and the region.

The CSeries is a narrow-body jetliner aimed at competing with the smaller planes built by aerospace giants Boeing and Airbus.

Bombardier has said it expects to have 300 firm orders by the time the CSeries boards its first commercial passenger, currently slated for next autumn.

Ad Feedback

- Reuters

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content