Saudi Arabian airline flynas is diverting from the golden rule for low-cost carriers of operating one-type only. The carrier has taken delivery of a second Airbus A330-300, which it intends to start operating in the coming March. flynas inducts two A330s to boost long-haul capacity.
In a press statement, flynas says that the A330s “will contribute to boosting the operation capacity and increasing the number of passengers on new medium-to-long-haul destinations, in line with the National Civil Aviation Strategy and the National Tourism Strategy.” This strategy is directly related to Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 to boost tourism in the country.
But the A330s will also be used to carry pilgrims that wish to visit the holy places in Saudi Arabia, notably Mecca. Especially during the Hadj and Umrah period, flynas has been short of long-haul aircraft to ferry pilgrims to Jeddah and Mecca. In 2019, the airline wet-leased an Airbus A380 from Malaysia Airlines as well as an Airbus A330-900 from Lion Air, Boeing 747, and Boeing 767s from other operators. Between 2013 and 2016, the flynas fleet included leased 747s, 757s, and 767s.
The two A330-300s are on lease. The first aircraft already arrived on October 17 and has been sourced from Avolon. The seven-year-old aircraft has flown with Air Europa, WOW, and Turkish Airlines, but was returned to the lessor in August 2021 for storage in The Netherlands.
The second A330 was delivered on December 7 and is leased from CMB Financial Leasing. The six-year-old aircraft has a history with South African Airways until February 2021 and has been in storage at Amman airport since then.
The Board of Directors of flynas approved plans to grow the fleet to 250 aircraft by 2030 as part of its growth strategy. The airline currently has 80 Airbus A320neo and 10 A321XLRs showing in the Airbus backlog. Plans to order 10 A321LRs were announced at the 2019 Dubai Airshow but later ditched. flynas recently took delivery of the first two of ten A320neo’s on lease from AviLease. Right now, the airline has no new widebody aircraft on order.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News. From January 2023, he will add a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.