NATIONAL Air Services (NAS) has been awarded the first government licence to operate domestic flights from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the private Riyadh-based aviation company said.
NAS said it received the licence from the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA). It is to serve the kingdom’s booming domestic aviation market with a newly launched low-cost carrier (LCC), with five aircraft forming its initial fleet.
The new LCC will cover 22 Saudi destinations during its first year of operations, expanding to 37 domestic routes by the end of 2008. The licence marks a significant deregulation of Saudi Arabia’s national aviation sector.
In related news, NAS said it would invest $2 billion in fleet expansion, including the purchase of 75 new aircraft by 2010.
In addition, the fleet will serve to expand the company’s highly successful Aircraft Fractional Ownership and Leasing programme (NetJets) and Al Khayala Airlines. Following these acquisitions, NAS’s total fleet will include more than 100 aircraft.
With investments of over $2 billion, the company’s initial acquisition will include Airbus, Gulfstream and Raytheon aircraft. According to senior company officials, the acquisition will be financed by leading Saudi, regional, and international financial and leasing institutions.
Based in Riyadh, NAS provides its vast customer base in the region with complete and innovative aviation services.
Currently, NAS has a workforce of 700 employees drawn from 37 nationalities, with Saudis comprising 45 percent of the workforce.
NAS products and services offered include NetJets Middle East, which provides fractional aircraft ownership and leasing; Al Khayala Airlines, which targets business and first-class travelers; Aircraft Management Services, Aircraft Charter Services and other unique aviation solutions.