Sama chief Cowen steps down, successor named

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Saudi Arabian budget carrier Sama's co-founder, Andrew Cowen, has stepped down as its chief executive and been succeeded by Bruce Ashby.

Sama says that Cowen opted not to continue in the role after his contract expired and stepped down on 1 December.

Cowen had recently been outspoken about the difficulties experienced by the airline in the Saudi market, particularly criticising the kingdom's domestic fare cap which he blamed for substantial losses.

Speaking about the change of management, he says: "With Sama having achieved profitability in August and September of this year, with 1.5 million guests carried to date, and with an international route network spanning the Middle East, now I believe is the right time to hand over the day-to-day leadership."

Bruce Ashby is the former president and chief executive of India's IndiGo Airlines, and was previously a senior executive with US Airways.

Sama operates a fleet of six Boeing 737-300s plus a single British Aerospace Jetstream 41.