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Nasair eyes base of operations outside KSA

KSA's only low cost carrier is hungry for growth.
Nasair has recently launched new routes to Dubai from KSA.
Nasair has recently launched new routes to Dubai from KSA.

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Saudi low-cost carrier nasair is mulling a new base outside Saudi Arabia in a bid to capitalise on the expansion of its international routes, the airline’s CEO has said.

“Indeed we are and we are evaluating that right now,” Simon Stewart, CEO of nasair, told Arabian Business.

Steward declined to specify the location of the new base, the airline’s fourth, but confirmed it would be in the Gulf.

The carrier currently flies out of Riyadh, Jeddah and Damman.

Now in its third year of operations, nasair is in the process of expanding its international routes and aims to add one new route per month.

The airline, which operates more than 450 flights per week, moved into the black in the third quarter, Stewart said.

The airline will be “fully profitable at the end of 2011,” he said, and is eyeing an initial public offering within the next few years.

“IPOs require that you have two years of profitability so we are forecasting to be fully profitable at the end of 2011, so logically in 2012,” he said.

In the last eleven months, the airline has launched seven new destinations in Syria, Sudan, India and the UAE. In the first quarter, a further three – Egypt, Turkey and Qatar – will be added.

Stewart said the airline is “actively evaluating” routes to Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Africa.

The airline increased its passenger numbers from 800,000 in 2008 to 2.4m in 2010.

Nasair is a subsidiary of National Air Services (NAS Holding), which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The company is part owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Company.

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