Independent Saudi Arabian carrier flynas is increasing capacity between the Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with an expanded offering to Abu Dhabi from Riyadh and a new daily link from Jeddah. The new routes strengthens an existing partnership between flynas and UAE national carrier Etihad Airways that will provide transfer options via its Abu Dhabi International Airport hub.
With effect from June 23, 2016, flynas will add a second daily service between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, increasing its combined offer with Etihad to four daily services. At the same time it will enter the Jeddah – Abu Dhabi market with a daily flight which will complement Etihad’s existing thrice daily services.
The additional flights from flynas will be operated by a two-class Airbus A320 aircraft, offering an additional 3,416 seats per week, and enhancing connectivity in Abu Dhabi to key destinations in North America, Europe, the Indian Subcontinent, and Southeast Asia.
“Since its launch in December 2015, we have seen a significant increase in traffic on our daily Riyadh to Abu Dhabi route, owing to the strong demand for travel between the two capitals,” said Bander Al Mohanna, chief executive officer of flynas parent, NAS Holding.
“By doubling the frequency of flights between these two strategically important destinations, we are pleased to offer our guests increased flexibility, more choice and greater convenience,” he added.
This growth comes as part of an expanded codeshare agreement between the two airlines signed in October 2012. The codeshare agreement allows flynas to place its ‘XY’ code on multiple Etihad flights between Abu Dhabi and 20 destinations on its global network. In addition to Riyadh and Jeddah, Etihad currently also serves Dammam and Madinah, offering a total of 63 weekly flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“The launch of the additional flights is also a true testament to the success of our codeshare partnership with the UAE’s national airline, Etihad Airways, with whom we look forward to continue expanding our services in the future,” said Al Mohanna.
Schedule data from OAG shows that available capacity between Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia grew by an average annual rate of 22.5 percent between 2006 and 2015 and is forecasted to rise 20.8 percent this year (versus 2015), based on published schedules. Etihad Airways is the dominant carrier in this market with a 75.6 percent capacity share this year, but flynas now has a 10.6 percent share. Alongside the Etihad and flynas services, Saudi Arabian Airlines also serves Abu Dhabi from Jeddah and Riyadh.