Saudi Arabia welcomes the low-cost revolution

Sama may not be the first low-cost carrier start-up in the Middle East – that distinction goes to Sharjah-based Air Arabia - but it certainly appears to have the loftiest ambitions. As the proposed Saudi Arabian entrant said on its brand launch on 5 February: “Our objective is simple: To be the preferred and most successful low fares airline in the Middle East.”

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The carrier, which has the approval of the Saudi government, has backing from 30 Saudi private and institutional investors. It is being headed up by a management team consisting of former executives from UK low-cost carriers easyJet and go.

Sama aims to begin services by the middle of this year using leased Boeing 737-300s to bring the low-cost revolution to Saudi for the first time. Initially it will serve domestic destinations, expanding to other states in the region over time.

The word Sama in Arabic is a verb, says the carrier, with a number of meanings: to rise (high), tower up, go up, to be or become elevated, high, exalted or sublime. The brand image is a modern white and blue geometric design, with echoes of that of US low-fares carrier Spirit Airlines.

To keep abreast of Sama’s development, and to find out where it will be flying, visit its website.

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