SaudiGulf Airlines (6S, Dammam) is planning to wet-lease between two and four aircraft in 2018 as the carrier's negotiations with Bombardier regarding the delivery schedule of its sixteen CS300 continue without a solution, CEO Samer Majali has told Forbes.

The Dammam-based premium carrier was supposed to receive the first of its CSeries aircraft in May 2016 but this has been postponed due to delays on the manufacturer's side.

"The program delays have caused us some big damage and big costs because we have an overhead sized for an operation several times the size of what it is today. We were severely damaged by the inability for us to grow in the second half of 2016, and 2017, and now 2018," Majali said.

Majali added that the carrier is considering all options regarding the Bombardier order, the largest contract signed by the manufacturer in the Middle East. He suggested that at the very least the airline will seek better terms due to the delay.

Neither Saudi Gulf nor Bombardier responded to a ch-aviation request for comment.

SaudiGulf Airlines currently operates four A320s on domestic services connecting Dammam, Riyadh, Jeddah, and Abha. After wet-leasing capacity later this year, the carrier plans to launch the first international route to Dubai Int'l, and to later expand to Pakistan, Egypt, and Sudan.

In 2019 and 2020 the airline plans to add eight new aircraft per year. In May 2017, SaudiGulf Airlines has inked a preliminary agreement with Boeing regarding a purchase of wide-body aircraft.

Among the Middle Eastern carriers, EgyptAir (MS, Cairo Int'l) has ordered twelve CS300s, Gulf Air (GF, Bahrain Int'l) ten CS100s, and Iraqi Airways (IA, Baghdad) five CS300s.