Saudi Arabia-based low-cost carrier Sama Airlines announced on Monday that it would discontinue all flight operations as of Tuesday 24th August 2010. Flight operations will continue as planned through Monday, 23rd August, and Sama is seeking arrangements to accommodate passengers affected by flight cancellations through arrangements with other airlines.
"The decision to stop flying was not taken lightly, but we have spent many months seeking alternatives, and now this is the only option remaining to us," explained Sama CEO Bruce Ashby. "We had been awaiting a significant aviation relief package with respect to fuel subsidies, subsidies for PSO routes, a gradual lifting of domestic fare caps, and additional funds to support the past losses and growth of our business. In addition, we sought for, and found, more than one potential new equity investor willing to inject cash into the business. Unfortunately, none of these alternatives came together in the required timeframe.
"Sama, and all other airlines throughout the region, experienced very low fares and somewhat slow demand for regional travel during the winter season (October 2009 through March 2010). Although revenues were up sharply during the summer peak season, it has not been enough to offset the heavy losses we suffered during the winter.
"We deeply regret any inconvenience caused to our customers, but we must do what is necessary to preserve the integrity of our operations. Since January 2009 we have run a safe, reliable airline that flies on time and we have received broad-based support for our plan of measured growth. We remain hopeful that a financial solution will be found that will allow us to restart operations in the coming few days," Ashby concluded.
Sama will make notifications to all passengers booked on flights from 24th August, 2010 onwards to the status of their itineraries at the contact numbers provided when the booking was made.