Nasair , a low-cost carrier based in Saudi Arabia, is set to go public as the airline prepares for an initial public offering (IPO), a top official said.
The airline has appointed Saudi Fransi Bank  as the lead book runner for the IPO while auditing firm Deloitte has been appointed adviser for the move.
“We don’t have a firm date for the public offering, but we have started the process by appointing the advisors and arranger for the IPO,” Francois Bouteiller, Nasair’s chief executive officer, told Gulf News.
The airline, which became profitable last year, expects a full-year profit in 2013. It operates to 88 destinations in the region with a fleet of 20 Airbus and Embrayer aircraft. It has 10 Airbus A320s  on order. “In three years, we expect to have a fleet of 35 aircraft of our own,” he said.
This would be the third IPO by a Gulf budget carrier, after UAE’s Air Arabia and Kuwait-based Jazeera Airways went public a few years ago.
The airline, which served 3 million passengers last year, expects to handle 4.5 million passengers and generate SR2 billion (Dh1.95 billion) in revenue this year. It is currently developing a number of airports as its hub — such as Madinah, Taif, Dammam, in addition to Jeddah and Riyadh.
It has recorded a 20 per cent increase in passenger numbers since the beginning of the year compared to 2012, and its number of flights has increased by 11 per cent compared to the same period.
It will be the first Middle East and North African airline to launch passenger operations from the new Dubai World Central (DWC), Dubai’s second airport and the world’s first purpose-built aerotropolis on October 28, 2013.
“A new era in Dubai’s already proud aviation story is set to begin. The introduction of passenger services from Dubai World Central is the first step in the long-term development of the airport and will provide an attractive alternative to travellers,” Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths said.
The airline plans to operate more than 50 flights per week between Dubai and a number of destinations in Saudi Arabia. “The launch of passenger operations at DWC is one of our biggest highlights to date and we look forward to offering our passengers even more flexible services with the assistance of another airport in Dubai while we maintain our long-standing flights from Dubai International,” added Bouteiller.
Nasair was launched in Saudi Arabia in February 2007.