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Ending the year on a profitable note – nasair
Setting sights high: Captain Francois tells Kipp about the major changes for nasair in 2013. . .
May 12, 2013 11:36 by Muhammad Aldalou
Since nasair, Saudi Arabia’s national carrier, was given a license to operate in the kingdom in 2007, the low-cost airline has transported more than 11 million passengers on both domestic and international routes.
It is currently operating 950 flights a week and will be one of the first airlines to operate out of Dubai World Central in October – with 50 weekly flights to the kingdom. It has also just celebrated its fifth consecutive year as part of the Arabian Travel Market.
And although CEO Captain François Bouteiller tells Kipp of the airline’s previous success, nasair hopes – for the first time – to end this year in profit. In the past nasair has come close to profitability and even broken even, but never has it enjoyed profitable success.
Operating an airline in Saudi Arabia is challenging – whether you’re a budget or traditional carrier – because the fare caps implemented by the government have remained unchanged for 25 years. Francois tells Kipp he thinks they may be working on loosening the strings. “You can imagine how costs have increased in 25 years but the fares haven’t changed,” he says.
“We’ve had major changes in 2012 and we’ve had consecutive months of profit, but we hope to actually end the year with a profit,” he says. When pressed for speculative figures, he insisted it was too early to even begin guessing.
“If you take a look at what we’ve done over the past couple of years, but more specifically last year, we’ve had a 40 per cent increase in passenger numbers and sales growth,” he adds. “In 2012, we transported nearly three million passengers, and this year it could be 4.5 million.”
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