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Founded in 2007, NAS air is a Saudi Arabian low-cost carrier based in Riyadh. The airline, which is a subsidiary of the National Air Services, serves an extensive domestic network as well as regional and international services to destinations in the Middle East, Asia and Europe.
Location of NAS Air main hub (Riyadh King Khaled International Airport)
LCCs will continue to evolve into hybrids of the original core model. CAPA and OAG consider NAS Air fits the LCC profile and it is included in our reporting on this basis. Please note: when reporting for an airline is changed from or to LCC the historical data is not affected and it can lead to a distortion in the current reported data. Contact us if you have any queries.
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15 total articles
The LCC phenomenon in the Middle East is entering the home stretch of its first decade. The importance of the LCC market in the Middle East has grown steadily since the launch of the region’s first LCC flights by Air Arabia in Oct-2003, but the growth has not been as high as initially anticipated, as carriers can attest to.
Just four airlines make up the regional LCC market – Air Arabia, flydubai, Jazeera Airways and NAS Air. Air Arabia also has two subsidiary carriers – Air Arabia Maroc, launched in 2007, and Air Arabia Egypt, launched in 2010. A third, based in Jordan, has been on hold for several years.
There are also some smaller carriers in the region that are filling the gap between LCCs and full service airlines. Bahrain Air markets itself as a “premium value” carrier, including some LCC elements in its model but also offering two seating classes – including an all-new business class cabin – and a correspondingly greater emphasis on service and product levels. RAK Airways, based in the UAE emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, also has low cost elements, but like Bahrain Air has adopted a hybrid model between full service and low-cost airlines.
Saudi Arabia’s LCC experiment may be drawing to an unwelcome close. nasair, the kingdom’s first – and now sole surviving – LCC announced it has suffered a 1Q2011 loss, due to the troubled situation in the Middle East and North Africa reducing passenger traffic and the increasing price of oil.
Saudi Arabia’s new consumer protection body has urged the Saudi Government to open its skies to other airlines in the Gulf region. The Association for Consumer Protection announced in early Jan-2011 that it has approached the government to embrace liberalisation of the domestic market for air travel, including allowing rival full service and low-cost carriers to operate domestic routes.
Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker announced on 20-Dec-2010 that Qatar Airways is on track to declare “a very hefty profit” this year, clearing the way for an IPO. The CEO stated he is "pretty confident" the carrier will launch an IPO in early 2012, after achieving three consecutive years of profitability.
Saudi-based LCC nasair is looking towards the possibility of an IPO as early as 2012 or 2013. The carrier, now Saudi Arabia’s sole LCC after the failure of Sama in Aug-2010, expects to move into profitability in 2011 and from there progress towards an IPO.
In October 2010, SpiceJet will become the first independent Indian LCC to launch international operations. This marks an important step in the development of the low-cost model in India, which has been embraced in the domestic market.
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