Saudia to acquire a completely new fleet

Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) will purchase an entirely new fleet of new aircraft as part of a 10-year modernisation plan, its director general Khalid A Al Molhem has announced. "We will also rent more aircraft to meet the growing demand," he said in a statement released on 29 August.

Saudia''s expansion plan comes amid challenges posed by rivals within and outside the kingdom. The airline expects that the annual Umrah pilgrim flow would reach 10 million within the next few years.

Molhem said the airline''s planned privatisation of Saudia cargo would be complete before the end of this year. He said the airline would establish six companies to privatise its strategic units.

Saudi Arabia''s council of ministers has given the national carrier the green light to convert its strategic units into separate companies. Saudia would be licensed to establish companies wholly owned by the organisation in preparation for their privatisation.

It is to establish six companies for catering, maintenance, cargo, ground service, aviation service, and the Prince Sultan Aviation Academy. The new companies will offer part of their shares to Saudi citizens in initial public offerings two to three years after their formation.