Middle Eastern budget carrier FlyDubai is to open services to Turkmenistan's capital, Ashgabat, as well as its first link to Saudi Arabia with flights to the city of Abha.

FlyDubai's latest routes will bring its overall network to 28 destinations.

Services to both cities will start this month, says the Dubai-based airline. It will fly to Ashgabat twice per week from 30 November while the thrice-weekly Abha service will start on 23 November.

FlyDubai chief Ghaith Al Ghaith says the decision to operate to Ashgabat follows encouraging take-up on its service to Baku in Azerbaijan.

"Central Asia is a growing market and the nations in the region are beginning to flourish, attracting international business and tourism," he says.

FlyDubai had indicated last month that it was looking at operations to Saudi Arabia.

Al Ghaith says that the service to Abha will provide new links to a city from which travellers have had "very few direct international flights to choose from".

FlyDubai will increase the frequency of the Abha connection to daily from 17 January.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news