Saudi Arabia's newly licensed
National Air Services (NAS), the country's first privately-held
airline, announced Wednesday a $2 billion fleet expansion plan.
This comes on the heels of last week's
announcement it had received a license to operate
with plans to expand its five-aircraft fleet to eighteen by
In a release, NAS Chairman Ayed Al Jeaid said, "The overall
growth of Middle East aviation and travel market has served as the
catalyst for our significant expansion plans."
The company hasn't published specific numbers yet, but it has
said it plans to purchase $2 billion worth of Airbus, Raytheon and
Gulfstream aircraft to form the core of what will eventually become
budget-carrier NAS. It also says its upcoming purchase
will supply aircraft to expand its fleet of fractional-ownership
aircraft the company has flown since beginning operations in 1999.
Aircraft selection, in terms of seating capacity, will be
determined by the specific needs of each business unit says the
Al Jeaid said, "This is also in line with NAS's ambitious
strategy to diversify its business portfolio and tap new
Airline market expansion has been explosive in the Middle East
since 2001. Record oil revenues in the region have driven an
economic upturn of sorts and leisure travel has grown along with
According to Reuters, the Middle East led airline passenger
growth among the world's regions, rising 13.1 percent in the first
nine months of 2006 compared to 2005.
NAS says it plans to complete its fleet expansion by 2010.