Saudi Arabia’s Nasair starts Delhi flights

January 18th, 2011 - 5:55 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 18 (IANS) Saudi Arabia-based low-cost carrier Nasair Tuesday launched a direct flight between New Delhi and Riyadh as part of its strategic expansion plans.”This is another stage of our network expansion and also the fact that there is a huge demand in this sector between India and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Nasair’s chief executive officer Simon Stewart said.

According to him, the national capital is the fourth destination in India the airline has connected to Saudi Arabia, after Mumbai, Calicut and Kochi.

“This is our fourth destination in India. We are very bullish on the growth prospects from this sector and are also planning to add other destinations in the country as well,” Stewart said.

The airline, which started its maiden operations to India in 2010, has already recorded load factors of 86 percent from Mumbai for the period of April-December and 70 percent from Kochi for the period of June-December.

Stewart said that the airline, which carried 50,000 Indians to Saudi Arabia for the Haj pilgrimage in 2009-10, expects the number to reach 90,000 by 2010-11.

“We are targeting the pilgrimage travellers for the Haj, as well as the labour travellers and the business travellers between both the countries,” Stewart said, adding that the passenger composition is dominated by labour travellers, followed by pilgrims and business travellers.

The airline said it saw huge growth opportunity in the market and planned to add Hyderabad and Mangalore to its list of destinations.

“We are looking at Hyderabad and Mangalore as two potential cities to fly to. Most probably it would happen in the end part of this year, or the early next year,” the company’s sales director Turki Abdullah Al-Jawini said.

According to him, the airline was also in talks with some Indian low cost and full-fledged carriers for code-sharing agreements.

Launched in 2007, the airline currently connects 24 international destinations and six domestic Saudi Arabia destinations through 500 flights per week.

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