Flyadeal Expands International Footprint
Egypt’s capital Cairo is the latest destination to be served by expanding Jeddah-based LCC flyadeal, becoming the 16th point in its network.
The airline, which opened its first overseas service to Dubai last July and has since added Kuwait to its route map, has launched flights between Riyadh’s King Khalid International (RUH) and Cairo International (CAI). The 1,609-km (1,000-mi.) route will be served twice a week.
Ahmed Al-Brahim, chief commercial and customer officer of flyadeal, said that the addition of Cairo reflects the company’s desire to support the objectives of the Saudi Vision 2030 development plan. The 2030 strategy seeks to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy away from oil and resource-based businesses to focus on other industries, such as tourism.
Al-Brahim added that new flights between the Saudi and Egyptian capitals would help to strengthen ties between the countries, enhancing bilateral cooperation.
The launch of RUH-CAI flights sees flyadeal enter an already competitive market. Seven carriers currently provide nonstop service between the destinations, including flyadeal’s parent Saudia which offers 3X-daily round trips.
OAG Schedules Analyser data shows the route is also served 3X-daily by Egyptair and Flynas, while Air Cairo and Nile Air provide 3X-weekly flights. Additionally, Air Arabia Egypt and FlyEgypt each offer two services per week.
Flyadeal was launched in September 2017, offering low-cost domestic connections and providing feed for Saudia’s international operations. After opening its maiden international route between Riyadh and Dubai International (DXB) in July 2021, the airline has since added Jeddah (JED)-Dubai service and Riyadh-Kuwait (KWI) flights.
Speaking at World Routes 2021 in Milan, flyadeal CEO Con Korfiatis said the carrier’s domestic focus has helped to insulate the airline from some of the worst effects of the pandemic—but admitted that network planning in the immediate wake of COVID-19 would involve “a huge element of gazing at crystal balls.”
Flyadeal received six new aircraft during 2021, taking its fleet to 11 A320s and seven A320neos. The LCC has a further 24 A320neos on order, with about 14 of those expected to be delivered this year.
In an interview with CAPA in December, Korfiatis added the airline is “very confident” of a strong year in 2022, buoyed by the additional capacity set to be deployed. But he said that agility remains key and the LCC has to be alive to new opportunities.
Korfiatis explained that flyadeal had previously not attended World Routes before 2021 because it was not an international airline. However, he said that the carrier’s presence in Milan last October had been “more useful than ever.”
“We met with a bunch of airports—that if I took historical planning approaches we wouldn't have even spoken to—but now we see a lot of potential,” he said.