Saudi Gulf Airlines, a newly launched national carrier, has purchased 16 new CS300 jetliner aircraft with an option for an additional 10, worth $ 1.99 billion (SR7.46 billion).The manufacturer, Canada’s Bombardier Aerospace company, announced the deal at the Bahrain International Air Show on Thursday.It said that the Dammam-based Al-Qahtani Aviation Company signed a firm purchase agreement for the 16 aircraft. Hadi Abdullah Al-Qahtani & Sons Group of Companies owns the Al-Qahtani Aviation Company and Saudi Gulf Airlines.
Based on the list price of the aircraft, the purchase order for the 16 aircraft is about $ 1.21 billion (SR4.49 billion). Exercising all 10 options would increase the contract to $ 1.99 billion (SR7.46 billion), the company stated.“This is an exciting time for the aviation industry, particularly when you consider that more than 54 million passengers moved through Saudi Arabia’s 27 airports last year alone,” said Sheikh Tariq Al-Qahtani, chairman of Saudi Gulf Airlines. “We are very excited about the CSeries aircraft’s suitability for this market and the long-term success it will bring to the region.
“With its clean-sheet design, modern technologies and competitive costs, the CSeries aircraft will give us the opportunity to introduce a new, quality, premium airline and an economically sustainable business model in Saudi Arabia, serving the domestic market, the Gulf and Middle East. Saudi Gulf’s CSeries aircraft will offer wide and comfortable, leather seats, and in-flight entertainment in first-class and economy-class seats,” said Al-Qahtani.“We have been noting for a while that the CSeries aircraft attracted progressive airlines that are keen on opening new markets and operations,” said Mike Arcamone, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “We are thrilled that Saudi Gulf Airlines, based in the largest Arab economy – and one with an underserved air travel market – will base the core of its business plan on the CSeries aircraft.”
“In addition to supporting Saudi Gulf Airlines in the region, the CS300 aircraft will allow for growth into new markets such as the Indian subcontinent and parts of Europe, as the airline seeks to expand its network and give passengers the latest in cabin comfort,” said Arcamone.The new Saudi Gulf Airlines will operate domestic and international services from different airports in the Kingdom. The international route network will focus on main capitals in the Middle East and the Gulf as well as the Indian subcontinent.
Speaking to reporters at the air show, Samer Majali, president of the Abdul Hadi Al-Qahtani Group, said delivery of the CS300 jets, which seat between 130 and 160 passengers, is expected between the end of 2015 and the start of 2016.The new airline would start operating later this year or next year, Majali told reporters at the airshow. He said the $ 2 billion referred to is the list price for the planes and options.
The group is ready to buy or lease six other planes until the CSeries jets are delivered, he said.“Saudi Gulf will be launched once we have the technical license from the civil aviation authority,” said Majali, a former chief executive of Bahrain’s national carrier Gulf Air.
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