Flynas targeting 'moderate' profit in 2015: chief

Flynas chief executive Paul Byrne is seeking to inculcate a "low-cost way of thinking" at the Saudi carrier in order to achieve a "moderate" profit this year.

Byrne, who took up his post in November 2014, says he is trying to reduce costs at the Riyadh-based airline.

Speaking to Flightglobal at the Routes Middle East & Africa conference in Bahrain, Byrne noted the "major challenge" that lies in "making them [the employees] aware of cost and have them challenge what they are doing on a daily basis – challenge a culture".

He is seeking to introduce a low-cost ethic. "For every dollar I save, it's $10 I don't have to make," he says. "Savings stay with you, whereas the revenue can be fleeting."

Byrne sees a need for Flynas "fly smarter". Traditionally, he says, Flynas has been "scheduling everything from Ridyadh and Jeddah – and, really, from some areas Jeddah is the only market, and in others Ridyadh is the only one, so flying both because we have two bases doesn't necessarily make any sense".

He is targeting routes that allow him to get 11-11.5h of daily utilisation from his fleet of Airbus A320s. That, he says, "takes a lot of the costs out of the picture". Unprofitable routes are to be removed and a new focus placed on growing regional destinations in the Gulf Cooperation Council area.

Fuel prices have been "a great boon for us" this year, Byrne acknowledges. There are no plans for significant reduction in headcount, he says.

Flynas already has two leased Airbus A320s joining the fleet this year, one a replacement for an aircraft being retired. But he says Flynas is "looking at some small growth” and could "probably take in one or two more" this year.