Qatar targets second half launch for Saudi unit Al Maha

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Qatar Airways has detailed plans to launch its new Saudi Arabia-based subsidiary, Al Maha Airways, in the second half of this year.

The Gulf carrier last year outlined plans to launch a Saudi airline, one of two domestic operations in progress under licences offered by a Saudi government tender in late 2012.

Speaking at the ITB travel trade show in Berlin today, Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said the carrier has its own branding and will be "separate" and "independent" from its parent,

It will launch in the second half of 2014 and serve the Saudi domestic market, Al Baker says..

Initially, the carrier will operate a fleet of 10 Airbus A320s. However, widebodies may subsequently be added to the inventory, not to operate long-haul routes but to meet demand on short-haul operations, Al Baker adds.