Flynas will access 12 new A320neos as part of the deal with AviLease. These aircraft will be delivered through this year and the next. (Image used for illustrative purposes.) Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Saudi Arabia’s move to get into the highly lucrative aircraft leasing market has taken off, with the launch of a new company – AviLease – owned by the wealth fund PIF. The move is well-timed given that all signs point to a faster growth and recovery for the world’s airline industry, and with more carriers expected to add to their fleets.

AviLease has already signed its first leasing agreement, with low-cost-airline Flynas. The former will purchase 12 new A320neo aircraft to be delivered this year and in 2023, and leased back to Flynas.

AviLease intends to maintain an ‘optimal portfolio of assets’ with a core focus on leasing, trading and asset management services. “Today marks the start of the journey to become a leader in the aircraft leasing market,” said Fahad AlSaif, Chairman of AviLease. “AviLease is going to have a critical role enabling the PIF’s aviation sector strategy in Saudi Arabia, contributing to the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision."

Saudi Arabia’s National Aviation Strategy aims to increase annual passenger traffic to 330 million and connect Saudi Arabia with more than 250 destinations by 2030. The Public Investment Fund also has plans to launch an airline.

"Our company has global ambition and the robust financial backing of PIF,” said Edward O'Byrne, CEO of AviLease. “We are ready to capitalize on the strong and growing Saudi market to scale rapidly and become a leading aviation lessor.

“Our plan is to invest in the most technologically advanced aircraft to enable airlines operate the most fuel-efficient and environment-friendly fleet.”