UPDATE – New Saudi Arabian aircraft lessor AviLease has delivered its first two aircraft to an airline customer. Saudi low-cost carrier flynas took delivery of its first two Airbus A320neo’s, with ten more to follow this year and in 2023. New Saudi lessor AviLease delivers first aircraft to flynas.
Although the handover of the aircraft was announced this weekend, the two A320neo’s were actually delivered to flynas on October 31 and November 2 as part of a sale and leaseback. Flynas now has a fleet of 27 A320neo’s, of which the first was delivered in November 2018. They have been sourced from various lessors, including CMB, Airborne Capital, and Avolon.
AviLease was established in June and officially launched in July in London during the Farnborough Airshow week when it announced an agreement with flynas. The lessor is the initiative of Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which wants to grow it into a leading institution across the aviation leasing value chain. AviLease is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which should see the country reach the fastest passenger traffic growth in the region through the next decade.
PIF said in June that “AviLease will initially focus on scaling through purchase-and-lease-back transactions with airlines, portfolio acquisitions, and direct orders from aircraft manufacturers. It will also look into expansions through corporate acquisitions. The company’s fleet will consist of the new generation of narrow-body and wide-body aircraft from the world’s leading manufacturers.”
For now, AviLease has no aircraft on direct order with Airbus or Boeing, but the lessor targets an aircraft portfolio that eventually will see all current models of the two main OEMs.
Flynas itself has orders for 27 A320neo’s, of which eighteen have been delivered directly to the airline and nine more via lessors. Ten A321XLRs are also in the backlog. The airline carried four million passengers in HY1 2022 and has expanded its network to seventy destinations, including ten new international routes. In March, the Board of Directors approved the strategy to grow the fleet to 250 aircraft in 2030, up from the current forty.
On November 17, AviLease announced an agreement with the other Saudi LCC, flyadeal. They agreed on a sale and leaseback of twenty A320neo’s that the airline has on order. flyadeal currently operates fifteen A320neo’s and eleven ceo’s.
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.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.