Saudi Arabian Airlines, the flag carrier of the country, stepped into funding agreements with six local banks to purchase 73 aircraft.
Saudi Arabian Airlines signed a $3 billion funding deal ‒ the largest financing agreement in its operating history. The airline plans to use the funding to expand its fleet by purchasing 20 Airbus A321neos, 15 A321XLRs, 30 A320neos as well as 8 Boeing 787-10 jets. The A320neo jets would go to Saudi’s low-cost arm Flydeal.
The financing should cover the airline’s needs until mid-2024. The fleet expansion is part of Saudi’s aims to follow the country’s plan to attract 100 million visitors as well as 30 million Umrah pilgrims each year.
“This agreement will contribute substantially to the kingdom’s long-term economic growth and development,” Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Transport, Saleh bin Nasser Al Jasser, was quoted by local media.
“Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation’s fleet expansion will boost tourism and its allied sectors, generate substantial employment opportunities, significantly improve air connectivity, and enhance the flow of foreign investments,” Al Jasser added.
The Director-General Ibrahim bin Abdulrahman Al-Omar said that the financing agreement demonstrated the airline’s resilience as well as its determination to capture opportunities in securing “competitive funding” to enable its fleet expansion “with a range of new and modern aircraft” that should enable Saudi to meet the national aviation requirement in the future.
To stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, Saudi Arabian Airlines received total bids of more than $4.7 billion.
The air carrier took delivery of its 5th Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner in October 2021, bringing its fleet to a total of 158 aircraft, the Planespotters.com data shows.