Kuwait's Jazeera Airways is starting a budget airline in Saudi Arabia along with its partners in the kingdom.
In a statement on Tuesday, Jazeera Airways said the low-cost airline, to be based at the King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, is being established in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 economic transformation programme, which seeks to expand the tourism and aviation sector.
“Co-ordination is under way with the regulatory authorities in the kingdom to complete procedures to obtain the necessary licences in accordance with the applicable laws,” Jazeera Airways said.
The announcement comes days after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the creation of new national airline, Riyadh Air, on Sunday.
Riyadh Air will be wholly owned by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), which has about $620 billion in assets under management and backs strategic sectors central to the kingdom's economic diversification plans.
Saudi Arabia's second national airline will connect the capital Riyadh to more than 100 destinations around the world by 2030, leveraging the country's strategic geographic location between Asia, Africa and Europe, the PIF said.
Riyadh Air is expected to contribute 75 billion Saudi riyals ($20 billion) to the country's non-oil gross domestic product growth and to create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Saudi Arabia has invested billions of dollars in developing its tourism industry and aims to position itself as a global transport and logistics hub that will attract tourists, diversify its economy and reduce its reliance on oil.
The kingdom's Saudi Aviation Strategy calls for annual passenger traffic to be tripled to 330 million by 2030, boosting the number of destinations to 250 from 99 at present and establishing a new flag carrier.
This strategy is backed by $100 billion in investments from the government and private sector.
Saudi Arabia's Prince Mohammed last November announced that a new airport will be opened in Riyadh with six parallel runways and designed to accommodate up to 120 million travellers by 2030.
Jazeera Airways, whose first flight was on October 30, 2005, posted a record annual profit for 2022.
The airline's net profit nearly tripled, soaring to 20.1 million Kuwaiti dinars ($66 million) from 7.1 million dinars in 2021. The airline tripled the number of passengers it carried last year, reaching 3.6 million.
In January 2022, the airline's board approved a $3.4 billion deal to buy 28 narrow-body aircraft from Airbus after signing a preliminary agreement at the Dubai Airshow in November 2021. The deal included 20 A320 Neos and eight A321 Neos.
Jazeera Airways currently operates a fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft with a two-class cabin, providing both business and economy services. It also runs cargo flights.
The airline operates 19 aircraft serving 59 destinations across the Middle East, Central and South Asia, Africa and Europe.