Saudi Low-cost Carrier Enters European Market

(Photo: Gatwick Airport)
(Photo: Gatwick Airport)
(Photo: Gatwick Airport)

Saudi Arabian low-cost carrier flynas launched its inaugural non-stop flight from King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah to London Gatwick on April 8.

The airline’s pioneering Low Cost Carrier Plus (LCC+) concept offers passengers value-added, services-driven, yet affordable international air travel in both Business Class and Economy Class.  For the first time, it also provides passengers a direct route to Saudi Arabia’s second largest city in less than seven hours from Gatwick.

Flight XY21, which touched down at 9.25am (UK time), was greeted with a traditional water cannon salute at Gatwick and met by Guy Stephenson, Chief Commercial Officer at London Gatwick, along with other senior executives from the airport.  The departing flight returned to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at 10.50am (UK time).

The airline’s CEO Raja Azmi, accompanied by media from the Kingdom, were on board the inaugural flight.  They were welcomed at the gate with a cake-cutting ceremony close to the airport’s artwork of Queen Elizabeth II, which celebrates her Diamond Jubilee and provides a truly British welcome to travellers arriving into the UK.

“Launching the first of our European long-haul routes is a very exciting day for flynas and we are very pleased to now offer our passengers a non-stop flight to London as part of our international network,” said Raja Azmi.

“The flynas Global Flight Routes programme will cover new destinations across Europe, Asia and Africa, all flying out of our international hub in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2014.  The international network will also include flights to Manchester, in addition to Paris, Kuala Lumpur Jakarta, Karachi, and Casablanca.”

Guy Stephenson, Chief Commercial Officer at London Gatwick, said: “We are very pleased to welcome the first passengers from Jeddah to London Gatwick today as we continue to build on our already successful long-haul network. flynas is the first low-cost carrier to serve Saudi Arabia from the UK, introducing further innovation into the long-haul, low-cost, business model.

“Gatwick has spent over £1 billion on new facilities in order to become London’s airport of choice for passengers and airlines from around the world. Saudi Arabia is designated as a ‘High Growth Market’ by UKTI, and we believe that this new, highly competitive service to Jeddah will therefore become an important additional business and leisure link for the UK.”

The Airbus A330 aircraft is part of a major fleet investment for flynas and is set up in a two-cabin configuration which includes a new 12-seat Business Class Cabin fitted out with reclinable flat-beds. Passengers in both Economy and Business Class have access to smart in-flight entertainment, generous hold luggage and a host of other on-board services.