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Saudi carrier Flyadeal accelerates fleet plans, to add wide-body jets now

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In January 2024, Greenway, a former senior executive at the Boeing 787-operating subsidiary of Singapore Airlines called Scoot, was named CEO of flyadeal

Flyadeal, a budget airline in Saudi Arabia, is currently considering a potential order for 10 to 20 wide-body jets to increase passenger capacity.

CEO Steven Greenway stated that they are exploring options between the Boeing 787 and Airbus A330neo, with a decision expected by the 2024 end.

While formal competition between the two aircraft manufacturers has not begun, the deal could be valued at around USD 5 billion at list prices.

In addition to their recent order of 105 Airbus narrow-body aircraft, Saudia Group, the parent company of Saudi and flyadeal, already operates the Boeing 787 and the A330ceo.

“We have on our back doorstep an operator, in our owner, that has intimate knowledge of both aircraft, which is very helpful to us,” Greenway said in an interview, Arab News reported.

“The larger A350, the latest Airbus wide-body jet which competes with both the Boeing 787 and 777, is less likely to be a contender because it was built for longer ranges than flyadeal needs,” Greenway said.

“The A350s are a great aeroplane, but they’re over-engineered for what we need,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of the IATA airline association’s annual meeting in Dubai.

In January 2024, Greenway, a former senior executive at the Boeing 787-operating subsidiary of Singapore Airlines called Scoot, was named CEO of flyadeal.

Saudi Arabia’s aviation industry is growing, as the kingdom invests billions of dollars in its Vision 2030 plan to diversify its economy away from fossil fuels and grow its private sector.

“We have mapped out a long term plan (in which) we could potentially have a fleet of 10, 15, 20 – I would say 10 minimum in the next three, four or five years,” Greenway said, referring to the airline’s study of wide-body aircraft.

“Such planes, which designers say can seat up to around 400 passengers in all-economy configurations, could be attractive for the number of seats amid slot constraints in places like Dubai, though they could also open new routes,” Greenway added.

Talking about Flyadeal, the budget airline’s pursuit towards buying wide-body jets follows the order for 12 Airbus A320neos and 39 bigger capacity A321neos, which was recently signed in May 2024 as part of a wider announcement by parent Saudia Group for a record 105 aircraft order, the largest in the Kingdom’s aviation history. The announcement was made on the opening day of the Future Aviation Forum held in Riyadh last week.

Flyadeal’s new fleet will support growth targets that will see a tripling in size from the current 32 all-Airbus A320neo and CEO variants to more than 100 aircraft by 2030, with its network reach rising sharply from 30 domestic and international destinations to over 100 within six years.

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