Saudi Gulf Airlines aims to begin flying in November after receiving regulatory approvals, the new Dammam-based carrier said on Monday.
Owned by the Abdel Hadi Al-Qahtani & Sons group, the airline plans to fly from Dammam to three destinations, initially with a fleet of four Airbus A320s. The airline is currently working with the GACA (General Authority of Civil Aviation) in obtaining its technical license for operations.
Initial flights from Dammam will be to Jeddah, Riyadh and one international destination, with further destinations added in 2016 with fleet expansion.
The airline's domestic flights will offer first class and economy fares, while international flights will provide business class and economy class services. In addition to the A320 aircraft, the airline signed a $2 billion deal with Canada's Bombardier last year to purchase 16 CSeries jets with an option for a further 10. Delivery of the CS300 jets, which seat between 130 and 160 passengers, is expected to begin late this year or early 2016. Only national carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines and budget operator National Air Services currently serve a domestic market of about 27 million people.
Foreign carriers can only fly in and out of Saudi Arabia, not within the country, but that will change when Qatar Airways obtains regulatory approval to launch its subsidiary Al Maha Airways for the Saudi market. It is planning to begin operations with four A320s, though the airline's launch has been delayed by regulatory red tape.