An A320-200 operated by Saudi Arabia's low-cost carrier flyadeal (F3, Jeddah) was damaged in a drone attack conducted by Yemen's Houthi rebels at Abha airport in southern Saudi Arabia, the Associated Press has reported.

Photos indicate HZ-FAB (msn 7867) suffered extensive damage to the rear part of its fuselage. It is understood that the aircraft was attacked during a turnaround with no passengers on board. Reportedly, there were no victims of the attack.

Flightradar24 ADS-B data shows that the 3.5-year-old Airbus narrowbody, one of eleven A320s operated by flyadeal (which also operates a single A320-200N), arrived at Abha from Dammam. Given the extent of the damage, it has been forced to remain at the airport. The aircraft is owned by DAE Capital, the ch-aviation fleets ownership module shows.

Abha is located just over 100 kilometres from the Yemeni border. Iran-backed Houthi rebels control the northern part of the war-torn country and have claimed responsibility for the attack. The airport has been frequently targeted by the Houthis during the course of the Yemeni civil war. The rebels underlined that they considered the airport a military target.

Saudi Arabia backs the internationally recognised Yemeni government, which sits in Aden in the southern part of the country.

The attack is believed to be the first on a civilian aircraft during the ongoing war in Yemen.

Abha is currently served by flyadeal, Saudia, and flynas, predominantly on domestic routes, although it also sees limited international services to Cairo Int'l. Air Arabia files schedules for daily services to Abha from Sharjah but no flights have been operated since November 30, 2020.