A low-fare airline being set up in Saudi Arabia is expected to launch services by the middle of this year.

Saudi organisation Investment Enterprises is behind the airline, which will be launched in partnership with private investors. It is not clear if the planned airline is linked to Saudi Arabia’s National Air Services, which revealed at last year’s Dubai air show that it planned to launch its new airline in the first half of 2006 using Airbus A320s.

Investment Enterprises says that its airline will operate domestically as well as to points in other Middle Eastern countries. The chairman of Investment Enterprises, prince Bandar Bin Khalid Al Faisal, adds that the airline will be established “with the support of a number of Saudi investors in response to the growing demand for airline services within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the region”.

Bandar adds: “Our preparations for operational launch are proceeding extremely well, and a contract has been signed with Mango Aviation Partners, a firm that specialises in the set-up and management of low-fare airline operations, as a consultant to conduct economic and technical customer research to establish the company.”

Bandar says that customer research has shown “wide public support for the launch of a new airline alongside Saudi Arabian Airlines and the venture has attracted a high level of interest”.Bandar also says that the Saudi ruling family has “approved private sector investment in air transport”.

Investment Enterprises is also being advised by Al-Khabeer Financial Advisors and the law firm of Mohammed Al-Sheikh.

Source: Flight International