flynasCEO of Saudi Arabia-based flynas, Raja Azmi, has predicted its enhanced low cost model (LCC+) will reap rewards by offering non-stop routes in to the Kingdom from international markets as an alternative to one-stop services on other regional carriers.

The Jeddah -based airline launched a three-times weekly A330 direct service from Jeddah to London Gatwick last month – its first European route – as part of an expansion strategy that aims to connect Saudi Arabia to Manchester , Paris , Kuala Lumpur , Jakarta, Karachi and Casablanca.

Speaking at Arabian Travel Market, Azmi said flynas had amended its business model from that of a traditional LCC to accommodate demand from the regional market:  “We had added a dedicated business class as the market in the Middle East is different to that in Asia or Europe, for example.”

While high fuel costs and a cap on domestic airfares handicap competition in the Saudi market, Azmi said the airline was tapping in to a variety of markets through a strategy that combined hub/spoke and point to point operations, low cost operations with a value proposition.

“Saudi Arabia has the biggest domestic market in the region but other GCC carriers are carrying (religious) tourists in to the country – we need our share of that market and can offer short haul connectivity with our new long haul routes.”