Saudi Arabia’s newest low-cost carrier Flyadeal expects to commence operations in September.

MEED understands the carrier, a subsidiary of state-backed Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), obtained its licence to operate from the kingdom’s aviation regulator in July.

The start of its flight operations will follow the delivery of its first aircraft, an Airbus A320-200, the first of eight aircraft that will be leased to the firm by UAE’s Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE).

Flyadeal will compete directly with Saudi Arabia’s three privately-owned carriers: Flynas, SaudiGulf and Nesma Airlines.

The Qahtani family-owned SaudiGulf Airlines and Egypt-based but Saudi-owned Nesma Airlines began operating flights in the kingdom in 2016.

In February, Qatar Airways withdrew its plan to offer domestic flights under the brand Al-Maha Airways in Saudi Arabia due to a long delay in the approval process.

In January, the kingdom’s first low-cost carrier, the Kingdom Holding-backed Flynas, signed an agreement to acquire 60 aircraft from France’s Airbus.

Flynas announced the deal a year after it reached profitability, following eight years of loss-making operations.