The low-cost carrier, which began operations early last year and already flies to 20 destinations within the kingdom, will add further foreign cities to its network this year.

The Saudi low-cost sector is struggling with high fuel costs and government-imposed fare caps on domestic flights, prompting a need to look outside the kingdom to make profits (MEED 25:1:08).

“We have selected Egypt and Pakistan as two destinations we wish to add this year,” says Taher Agueel, president of National Aviation Services (NAS), the private aviation group that owns Nas Air.

“We said we would launch our first route abroad during the first quarter of this year and have met that target. Now we will look to expand further.”

NAS and fellow low-cost carrier Sama have been lobbying the government to grant them the same discounted fuel prices as Saudi Arabian Airlines. Agueel says that although the company’s fuel costs are a huge burden on the business, he expects the issue to be resolved positively soon.

“It has taken longer than we hoped to sort this out but we are confident the decision makers are supportive of us. I expect this be sorted out in a matter of weeks not months,” he says.