flyadeal commits to 50 737 MAX aircraft

Saudia's low-cost subsidiary flyadeal, previously an all-Airbus operator, has committed to ordering up to 50 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft as it seeks to grow its domestic presence.

Middle East carrier flyadeal has committed to ordering 30 Boeing 737 MAXs, with options for 20 more. The deal is subject to both sides concluding final terms and conditions and a purchase agreement.

The low-cost carrier, a subsidiary of Saudia, has over the past year been conducting an evaluation process for 50 narrow-body jets to support domestic growth and potential international expansion.

It was understood to be weighing up an order for either 50 Airbus A320neo or 737 Max jets.

Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, director general of Saudia, said: “The demand for air transport services in the domestic market of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has grown exponentially.

“A new brand, with a fresh identity focused on low-fares, flyadeal has brought to the market a new choice – which has been received very positively.”

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The 737 MAX 8 which has capacity for 189 passengers in a one-class configuration. Compared to flyadeal's current fleet of A320s, the MAX 8 carries 12 more passengers.

Al-Jasser added: “The low-fares airline will continue to expand rapidly, and the addition to the fleet aligns well with flyadeal's target to grow its presence in the domestic market and cover new markets outside of Saudi Arabia.”

flyadeal launched in September 2017 and carried more than 1.5 million passengers in its first year of operation with a network of 56 daily flights between eight cities in Saudi Arabia.

Alongside other new entrants Flynas, Nesma and SaudiGulf, capacity in Saudi Arabia’s market has surged. According to data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser, Saudi Arabia’s domestic capacity has grown from 23.4 million available departure seats in 2015 to 34.6 million this year. International capacity has risen from 28.4 million to 32.5 million over the same time period.

In November, Flynas became the first operator in Saudi Arabia to acquire the Airbus A320neo aircraft. The Riyadh-based airline currently operates a fleet of 30 A320ceos, but is set to add 80 A320neos over the coming years.