Saudi Arabian low-fare airline flyadeal has committed to a firm order for 30 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, with options for another 20, in a deal valued at up to US$5.9 billion at list price.

The deal remains subject to conclusion of final terms and conditions and a formal purchase agreement, says Boeing.

The carrier, a wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), launched in September last year offering affordable flights within the kingdom. It has been mulling narrowbody proposals from both Boeing and Airbus since earlier this year, with the new aircraft to help it achieve its planned domestic growth and potential expansion internationally.

So far the Jeddah-based airline has been operating Airbus A320ceos (pictured) to eight domestic destinations including Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Qassim, Tabuk, Gizan, Madinah and Abha, with the carrier scheduled to have 11 operating by the end of this year.

His Excellency Eng. Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, director general of Saudia, said, “The demand for air transport services in the domestic market of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has grown exponentially. A new brand, with a fresh identity focused on low-fares, flyadeal has brought to the market a new choice – which has been received very positively.”

He added the airline would “continue to expand rapidly, and the addition to the fleet aligns well with flyadeal’s target to grow its presence in the domestic market and cover new markets outside of Saudi Arabia.”

The airline’s MAX 8s will have the capacity for 189 passengers in a one-class configuration, enabling it to carry 12 more passengers than its current fleet of A320s. It will also help achieve 8% lower operating costs per seat, says Boeing.

“Flyadeal has opened up more affordable flights to millions of travellers and we are honoured that the airline has chosen the 737 MAX to power its exciting expansion,” said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice-president of commercial sales and marketing at Boeing. “We have supplied commercial airplanes to Saudi Arabia for more than 70 years and we look forward to finalising this agreement and delivering advanced jetliners to flyadeal in the years ahead.”

Flyadeal’s CEO, Con Korfiatis, has also previously hinted that widebodies may be on its shopping list in the future as it expands its operations internationally over the next four or five years. The airline launched entirely as a digital operation, and was approaching two million customers in less than a year of operation. Saudi Arabia has a population of 32 million, with approximately half of the kingdom less than 25 years of age.


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