Saudia (SV, Jeddah) has announced the formation of an independent budget unit named flyadeal (F3, Jeddah). Speaking in Jeddah, Saudia's director general, Saleh bin Nasser Al Jasser, said the LCC aims to launch operations in mid-2017 and will play a role in Saudia's 'SV2020' business plan.

No tentative network was disclosed but the carrier will reportedly turn to Airbus (AIB, Toulouse Blagnac) and the A320neo Family for its operational requirements.

At present, the privately-owned flynas (XY, Riyadh) is Saudi Arabia's largest and only budget carrier operating a fleet of twenty-six A320-200s on internal Saudi routes as well as routes to Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Turkey, Kuwait, and Bahrain.

Start-up SaudiGulf Airlines (6S, Dammam), which is still undergoing certification with the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), is expected to launch budget operations some time this year with initial flights to cover Dammam-Jeddah and Riyadh-Dubai. Al Maha Airways (Riyadh), Qatar Airways' Saudi unit, is another entrant into the market though when it will commence operations is still unknown.