Saudia partners with PIF-owned AviLease to get new planes on lease

AviLease will deliver 20 Airbus A320neo aircraft to Saudia that will be operated on long-term leases by its low-cost carrier flyadeal

Saudi employees of the new Flydeal airlines company take a selfie during the launching ceremony held at the King Abdulaziz airport in the coastal city of Jeddah, on August 25, 2017.
Saudi Arabia's new budget carrier Flyadeal said Thursday it will start flying next month, as the kingdom seeks to expand air services to boost tourism in a radical overhaul of its oil-dependent economy. / AFP PHOTO / AMER HILABI
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Saudi Arabia's aviation major Saudia Group has signed a sale and leaseback agreement with AviLease which is owned by the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund.

Under the agreement, AviLease will deliver 20 Airbus A320neo aircraft to Saudia that will be operated on long-term leases by its low-cost carrier flyadeal.

“This sale and leaseback agreement with AviLease is an important deal for both companies, and an important step towards the realisation of the Saudi Aviation Strategy,” Ibrahim Al-Omar, Saudia’s director general, said.

“In the few months since it was launched, AviLease has already established itself as a key enabler of the kingdom’s aviation sector development.”

The country's Saudi Aviation Strategy calls for tripling annual passenger traffic 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.

Founded in June, Riyadh-based AviLease is an aviation financing and leasing firm investing in the latest generation aircraft through purchase and leaseback transactions, secondary portfolio and direct orders from aircraft manufacturers.

The latest agreement will take AviLease’s portfolio to 32 aircraft. The new aircraft will join flyadeal’s existing all-Airbus fleet — comprising 20 Airbus A320 aircraft — and operate across its domestic and international network.

“Our partnership further cements AviLease’s strong portfolio within Saudi Arabia by delivering next-generation aircraft solutions to locally-based operators from the world's leading manufacturers,” AviLease's chairman Fahad Al-Saif said.

Saudia Group, which is one of the largest aviation conglomerates in the Middle East and North Africa, has played a key role in developing the industry through its 12 subsidiaries and strategic business units. Its flagship entity Saudi Arabian Airlines is the national airline.

“This deal significantly boosts our fast-growing portfolio of cutting-edge, fuel-efficient aircraft, on long-term leases with quality airlines,” Edward O’Byrne, chief executive of AviLease, said.

Updated: November 17, 2022, 5:20 PM