Sunday, 1 January 2017

Interview: Ashraf Lamloum, Nesma Airlines Managing Director

Full article in PDF format

At the time of writing, Egypt’s Nesma Airlines had just launched domestic flights in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) with a pair of ATR 72-600s. The Saudi unit will initially operate from the northern city of Ha’il, before basing aircraft elsewhere in the country and eventually adding international flights.

The launch of a new airline in Saudi Arabia is a landmark event for a sector that has long shied away from competition. Until late last year, state-owned flag-carrier Saudia provided 77% of capacity in the domestic market, with privately-owned Flynas offering the only alternative for travellers. Efforts to launch two other carriers – SaudiGulf Airlines and Al Maha Airways – moved at a glacial pace since 2012, although the former announced progress just as this article went to press.

The establishment of Nesma KSA is also the latest in a series of strategic rebirths by Nesma Egypt, which began life as a charter operator connecting Red Sea and Nile River resorts with Europe in July 2010 – just before President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown and Egypt’s once-flourishing tourism sector nosedived...