13 MAR 2014

British airport officials welcome flynas as the first low cost service offering direct connections between the UK and Saudi Arabia and greater choice in terms of onward links to other MENA destinations

 London & Manchester, March 13, 2014: flynas, the Kingdom’s national carrier, concluded a successful UK tour to announce the launch of direct flights from Jeddah to London and Manchester, the first two European destinations to feature on its ambitious Global Flight Routes program.

 The flights will operate three times a week to both the British capital and the northern city of Manchester, offering easy access to the entire country.

 The announcements were made at two press conferences held in London and Manchester respectively. The press events were accompanied by a high-profile gala dinner which took place on the 40th floor of the landmark Gherkin building in London. The gala was attended by a senior delegation from flynas which included Mr. Ayed Al Jeaid – Chairman, NAS Holding; Mr. Sulaiman Al Hamdan - Group CEO, NAS Group and Mr. Raja Azmi - CEO, flynas, in addition to members of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia including Mr. Abrulrahman Al Seheaibani, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy; Mr. Guy Stephenson, Chief Commercial Officer at London Gatwick; Mr. Charlie Cornish, Chief Executive of the Manchester Airports Group (MAG); leading UK travel and tour operators and local media.

 Announcing the European launch of the Global Flight Routes program, Raja Azmi, flynas CEO said: “It’s no surprise that the UK was the first country to be picked in Europe for the expansion of our route network. London continues to feature at the top of Saudi Arabia’s most popular outbound destinations especially during summer and key holiday periods.”

 “The launch of flynas’ non-stop flights will add to capacity on this high traffic route. We expect to capture the air passenger segment from both countries that appreciates a high value offering, through the introduction of the new concept of Low Cost Carrier Plus (LCC+) which will allow passengers to enjoy affordable travel to international destinations while choosing from a range of services and in-flight entertainment,” added Sulaiman Al Hamdan, Group CEO, NAS Holding.

 Saudi Arabia has recently received a lot of interest from the British travel trade as a key growth market of inbound visitors. According to the national tourism agency VisitBritain, by 2020 Saudi Arabia is predicted to have the highest projected value percentage growth of 181% amongst the twenty major and emerging markets in its tourism strategy. The country also features among the top five highest spending markets for Britain, with an average spend per visit of £2,354 compared to an all-visitor average of £600 per visit.

 flynas’ flights are also expected to serve the high volume of business travel between the two nations as well as offer affordable fares to the UK’s significant Muslim population, for whom Saudi Arabia continues to be a key destination for religious tourism.

 In addition, Saudi students heading to the UK for higher education are also expected to be well served by these two new routes. The UK – with its diverse and inclusive student culture - continues to be a popular choice for Saudi students studying Petroleum, Mechanical, Aerospace, Civil and Electrical Engineering and Medicine.

 Speaking at the gala dinner, Guy Stephenson, Chief Commercial Officer at London Gatwick, said: “flynas will be the first low-cost carrier to serve Saudi Arabia from the UK.   We are very pleased that they have chosen Gatwick to serve London, and we are looking forward to welcoming their customers, and providing them with market leading quality of service.”

 Charlie Cornish, Chief Executive of the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), added: “The addition of further services to Jeddah with flynas will allow more passengers to fly direct to Saudi Arabia, whilst also providing further choice through their onward links to the Middle East and North Africa. Manchester Airport continues to act as a gateway to and from the north of England and we are delighted to welcome flynas to the fold.”

 Recently flynas has made significant investments in enhancing its fleet with adding Airbus A330 aircraft and upgrading its in-flight offering to include a 12-seat Business Class Cabin and smarter onboard entertainment technologies which are perfectly in line with the expectations of cosmopolitan, regional and international customers.

 All of flynas’ international flights will operate out of its hub in Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The airline recently announced the launch of direct flights to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Jakarta, Indonesia. Other destinations set to be rolled out as part of the program include Paris, France; Karachi, Pakistan and Casablanca, Morocco.