SaudiGulf: The start-up airline two years on

The toughest time for any startup is the first two years. We talk to Samer Majali. President & Chief Executive Officer, SaudiGulf, about what’s been achieved and what’s next.

At Bahrain Airshow last month, SaudiGulf signed an agreement with Airbus to purchase 20 A320neo aeroplanes (10 firm, 10 options).

Leasing 

Samer Majali. President & Chief Executive Officer, SaudiGulf, said: “In the meantime, we're also going to introduce brand new aeroplanes through leasing companies with our own spec, starting towards the end of 2019, 2020 and 2021.

“In total, we probably expect to bring in, through the leasing companies, 20 aeroplanes of this type, and then the Airbus will come in after that. So a total of 30 to 40 narrow-body aeroplanes  within the next five years.”

From boutique to full-service

Majali told FINN: “When we set up the airline, we were a boutique airline. [Now] we are a full-service carrier and for us, it's very important to offer value to our customers in the entire travel cycle  so not just onboard with very high-spec aeroplanes with leather seats, WiFi, in-flight entertainment, telephones, etc. but also services on the ground.

“We currently enjoy top quality service ratings.”

He added: “There are five airlines operating domestically in Saudi Arabia, so it's very challenging from a financial point of view. However, we're very optimistic.

"The economy's picking up, both within Saudi Arabia itself and the region, and we expect a bright future."

Replay

Watch our full wrap from the 2018 Bahrain Airshow:

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