1 November 2022, London Marriott Hotel County Hall
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
Low-cost Saudi Arabian carrier Sama, says that it wants to operate a fleet of 30-35 aircraft by 2010, as it continues its ambitious expansion plans.
The carrier currently has six Boeing 737-300 aircraft, but as international destinations come more to the fore, it will need significantly more capacity ” although retaining a single cabin policy.
”We will focus on the 737 given how high aircraft prices are,” Sama CEO Andrew Cowen, told ABTN from Dubai, adding: [but] I don”t think there is a need to have a premium cabin.”
Sama - meaning 'to soar' - recently started international services to Abu Dhabi and Sharjah ” the first low-cost airline from Saudi Arabia to do so ” although the giant Saudi Arabian Airlines dominates the air scene at the moment.
”The Middle East has a very significant and emerging small business community,” said Cowen, adding: ”and we certainly target that with a typical low-cost product.
”Most business people are small enterprises ” low fares are important to them. Our strategy is to build up services all around the Middle East as there is relatively limited low-cost penetration and high per-seat mile costs.”
Cowen added that greater choice would enable easier access around the vast region ” travelling from Sharjah to Damascus for example can take 48h.
The Sama CEO ” formerly CFO for UK low-cost airline Go - also underlined that greater economic integration from the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), as well as worker flows, would stimulate demand for air services.
Sama is just 18 months old and the private carrier had to fight hard to secure regulatory approval from the Saudi Civil Aviation Authority, although Cowen notes that such approval is becoming easier to obtain. ”The president of the CAA is very forward thinking and flexible ” he really wants to open the Saudi aviation market,” he said.