Nasair, the first low-cost carrier airline based in Saudi Arabia, has launched new flights to two southern cities in Turkey, Adana and Antakya, as well as to Istanbul.
The airline will operate 11 scheduled weekly flights from Riyadh and Jeddah airports, reaching 21 international cities. Speaking during a press meeting Monday, Sales Director Turki Al Jawini said, “We are the first low-cost and commercial airline to launch scheduled flights from Saudi Arabia to Antakya and Adana.” He said the airline aimed to meet the growing demand of Turkish expatriates based in Saudi Arabia, as well as that of the more than half a million Turkish pilgrims visiting Saudi Arabia each year.
“We have launched four direct flights between Jeddah and İstanbul and three direct flights between Jeddah and Adana per week. We are also planning twice-weekly direct flights between Antakya and Jeddah, and Antakya and Riyadh,” he said. The flights from Istanbul to Jeddah and Riyadh will be operated from Sabiha Gökçen airport.
Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review after the press meeting, Al Jawini said Turkey has a good potential in terms of tourism attraction and the pilgrimage and umrah visits (pilgrimages to Mecca taken at any time during the year) and business. “Last year, 300,000 passengers flew from Turkey to Saudi Arabia solely for an umrah visit. Mind you, the number excludes fliers for tourism, business and pilgrimage purposes, which make an additional 110,000 passengers,” he said.
He also said they currently were undertaking feasibility studies to launch flights to and from Ankara. Nasair posts 85 percent occupancy rate and considers Sabiha Gökçen airport a very convenient location. “It is a wending airport offering with new facilities,” Jawini said.
Nasair operates more than 500 scheduled flights every week to 21 international and six domestic destinations with the youngest and most fuel efficient fleet in the region, he said, adding the company served 2.1 million passengers and had a total revenue of 4.2 million Turkish Liras last year, increasing its revenue by 50 percent in 2010 over 2009 and posting a 350 percent total revenue growth from 2008 to 2010.
Hürriyet Daily News