Jazeera Airways has announced its intention to establish a new low-cost airline in Saudi Arabia as part of its Kingdom Vision 2030. The new airline will be based in Dammam at King Fahd International Airport, a hub It is a major hub in the country and is a hub for a number of local airlines. New bases for Middle Eastern airlines have become a lucrative new trend, with companies like Air Arabia and even Wizz Air.
It looks like Jazeera Airways is about to set up a second facility. Subject to regulatory permits and licenses, the airline plans to establish a subsidiary in Dammam, backed by Saudi companies. The low-cost carrier has so far focused operations from Kuwait International Airport (KWI) with great success. Despite the current market, Jazeera saw a 19% increase in traffic compared to 2019, despite a 26% drop in KWI. This resulted in its record profit of $65.7 million.
Now the airline is looking to expand its wings into Saudi Arabia, a rapidly expanding aviation market. The carrier has chosen Dammam as its base, hoping to avoid a direct fight Saudia (Jeddah) or RIA (Riyadh), but one it will inevitably be drawn into given their presence, or future presence, in the market.
Jazeera’s statement was light on details, but the carrier is almost certain to dedicate a portion of its Airbus A320 family fleet to its Saudi arm once it is ready to fly. ch-aviation data shows the carrier has another 20 A320neos and eight A321neos pending delivery, meaning it should be able to divert some planes. It’s unclear what incentives, if any, the government is offering Jazeera to enter the Saudi market or if the opportunity to break into the market is lucrative enough.
Saudi Arabia is the biggest country in the Middle East region, with air connectivity crucial to its expansion and success. However, the aviation industry is at the center of a major push to rebrand the country as one open to the world and a major tourism hub, a complete turn from its current image as a closed-off state with little Western influence. But first, you need to get the tourists in.