SaudiGulf Airlines has signalled a major fleet expansion with plans to lease and buy up to 40 Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft over the next five years.

At the Bahrain air show today, the Dammam-based carrier announced 10 firm orders for Neos, with 10 options to be delivered from around 2022. Chief executive Samer Majali also disclosed that the airline is negotiating with lessors to acquire a further 20 Neos – around two thirds of them expected to be A321neos – for handover from the end of next year.

The airline says an engine decision will be announced "in 10 days". SaudiGulf, which launched operations in 2016, currently operates six A320ceos on domestic and Gulf routes.

The deal for the Neos appears to scupper an earlier commitment for 16 Airbus A220s, made with Bombardier when the type was still known as the CSeries. Chairman Tariq Abdel Hadi Al-Qahtani says these aircraft will be replaced by the larger narrowbodies.

Source: Cirium Dashboard