Saudi based National Air Services (NAS), the fastest-growing independent provider of aviation services in the Middle East, yesterday announced major expansion plans to add some 120 new aircraft to its fleet over the next five years.
NAS Chairman, Ayed Al Jeaid said the mega investment, which is expected to spill over US$4 billion, is part of NAS’ strategy to diversify and integrate its strategic business units while entering new markets for its private and commercial services across the region.
“This year, NAS finalized five of the biggest aircraft acquisition deals to be announced by a private company in the history of Middle East aviation,” said Al Jeaid. “
The expansion of NAS’ fleet and providing innovative aviation solutions to customers extends the company’s services to a wider clientele base across market segments of the Saudi and regional traveling community. “NAS also seeks to achieve a rewarding return on investment to its shareholders,” he added.
NAS President, Taher Agueel said his company is currently reviewing proposals from local banks and international financial firms to finance its acquisition plans. “We are currently in the final stages of choosing the best proposal and will soon announce our financial partners,” he said. “This is a sign of the company’s credible economic strategy and the good reputation it developed in the local and international markets.”
NAS CEO, Ed Winter, commented that a combination of strong economic conditions, increased travel needs and the liberalization of many of the region’s aviation sectors will lead to a phenomenal boom in the regional travel market. “This creates a healthy environment with many attractive investment opportunities”, said Winter. "Our fleet expansion plans align with the soaring demand on private and commercial aviation services in the region,” he concluded.
Coinciding with the first day of the Dubai Airshow 2007, NAS confirmed its biggest agreements with the giant aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, for the purchase of 38 Airbus A320 family aircraft with an estimated value exceeding US$2.2 billion.
On the second day of the show, NAS announced a US$ 348 million deal with the Brazilian manufacturer EMBRAER to become the launch partner of their regional aircraft the EMBRAER 190 with the purchase of five aircraft and with options for another five. The agreement includes purchase rights for 12 additional aircraft of the same model, which may hike up the total value of the contract to US$522 million, if all options are confirmed.
The recent announcements with Airbus and EMBRAER provide the core fleet for nasair, Saudi Arabia’s first low cost airline. These aircraft will service nasair plans to expand network across main regional and international destinations in addition to the 26 domestic destinations which the carrier currently serves. nasair plans to announce its international schedule before the end of year.
Since its launch last February nasair carried half a million passengers inside the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a number which is expected to triple by the end of 2008. The budget carrier plans to break the five million passenger record by the end of the fifth year of operation, 2012. Currently nasair operates a fleet of seven leased aircraft comprised of Airbus A320 and Boeing 737.
NAS is also looking for new aircrafts to join the serving fleet of NAS’ exclusive carrier, Al Khayala, the Middle East’s sole all-business-class carrier which targets premium travel between Jeddah, Riyadh and Dubai with daily scheduled flights from private aviation terminals inside the Kingdom. Currently Al Khayala operates a fleet of two Airbus A319.
For its private aviation services, NAS made considerable investment to enhance the fleet of its NetJets Middle East Program with an excess of US$1.4 billion directed towards the purchase of 60 new aircrafts. The new jets, which will be delivered during the coming five years, are crucial for the future growth plans of the NetJets Middle East Program.
“This step reaffirms the program’s commitment towards the long-term success of fractional aircraft ownership and lease market in the region and increases the value proposition which the NetJets Middle East program offers to its owners and prospects in the region,” said Winter.
The NetJets Middle East program will become the launch partner of the new Hawker 750 light-mid jets in the Middle East. The program will acquire a total of 20 jets of the all new model valued around US$240 million. Deliveries will occur from 2008 through 2011. Ideally suited for the Middle Eastern market, the new Hawker 750 will offer program owners a mid-size cabin and comfort at a low-mid price, with a 2,100 nm range capable of achieving multiple-city visits in one day.
The program will also become the launch partners of the Dassault Falcon 2000LX with the purchase of 20 aircraft for an estimated total value of more than US$500 million. Deliveries will start in the fourth quarter of 2008 and will continue at the rate of four aircraft per year, until 2013. The Falcon 2000LX will deliver an unbeatable combination of performance, comfort and value and is ideally suited to the Middle East market with its extended range that will give owners more capability and efficiency on a wider range of city pairs.
The NetJets Middle East program will also receive 20 large-cabin, long-range Gulfstream G450 business-jet aircraft for an expected total value in excess of US$700 million. Deliveries have started in the last quarter of 2007 and will take place over the next five years. The multi-aircraft contract with Gulfstream Aerospace will enhance the capability of the program’s regional fleet with the transcontinental range, state of the art avionics and world class performance levels of the new jet.
Pointing out to the aircraft selection process, Winter explained that it the result of extensive research and intensive negotiations with manufacturers. “We have taken into account the diverse needs of the company's services and its aircraft requirements in terms of gauge, seating capacity, performance levels and operational cost,” said Winter
According to recent statistics, the middle east are witnessing phenomenal growth rates compared to other international markets with an 8% and 7% annual growth rate for the private and commercial aviation markets respectively.
Riyadh based National Air Services (NAS) is the fastest growing aviation company in the Middle East with a fleet of 47 aircraft including The Airbus A320 family, BBJ, Gulfstream, Falcon, Hawker-Beechcraft.
NAS is the region’s sole provider of both commercial and private aviation services through its four distinct strategic business units, offering its customers innovative, total solutions to meet their various aviation needs. The company provides a wide range of private and commercial aviation services that includes the NetJets Middle East program, the leading provider of fractional ownership and lease of private aircrafts in the Middle East; Aircraft Management Services; Al Khayala, the Middle East first all-business-class airline serving premium travelers between Jeddah, Riyadh and Dubai; and its most recent addition, nasair, Saudi Arabia’s first budget carrier
nasair - a strategic business unit of the National Air Services “NAS” - is the first budget airline to operate domestic routes in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. nasair operates 365 weekly flights to 26 domestic destinations with plans to break 10 million passenger target by the fifth year of operation. nasair operates a single class fleet of seven aircraft - of which five are Airbus A320 and two Boeing 737 – a number which the airline plans to increase to 19 aircraft by 2012. For additional information and best offers log into www.flynas.com,
About NetJets Middle East Program
With NetJets Fractional Aircraft Ownership, you gain all the convenience, access and time advantages of owning a whole aircraft, but at a fraction of the cost and without any of the responsibilities. The program provides hassle-free aviation solutions to clients. NetJets hires the pilots, maintains the planes, attends to the logistics and ensures the safety of its owners. The program is considered one of the most luxurious and advanced solutions in the private aviation sector.
This makes NetJets Middle east program a pioneer in the business aviation sector, in terms of safety, added value and unprecedented flexibility to meet the increasing and changing demands of the customers all over the region.
Not only does the fractional aircraft ownership and leasing program provide an excellent investment opportunity through actually owning shares in an aircraft, but also it makes the aircraft available to its owners on demand, for a specific period of time with fixed operating costs. In addition, within the program, owners have the possibility to change the type of aircraft and modify the number of shares they own and eventually sell all their ownership to the program after a specific period of time, at market prices. Owners are also entitled to use their membership in the Netjets program in the USA and Europe.
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