Jazeera Airways Group today announced that Sahaab Aircraft Leasing (Sahaab), a fully owned subsidiary, has placed four Airbus A320 aircraft on long-term leases with California-based Virgin America, one of the fastest growing airlines in the U.S.
This is Sahaab’s first lease to a U.S. based customer and comes only a few months after the company was acquired by Jazeera Airways Group in February 2010. The contract is valued at $155m.
Jazeera Airways Group Chairman Marwan Boodai said, “It was important for us to make our first placement as early as possible. However it was even more important to place the aircraft with the right customer and the award-winning Virgin America was the perfect customer. The airline, with 28 aircraft in service, is a rising star in North America and has a great all-around product.
“We welcome Virgin America as Sahaab’s latest customer and look forward to a long-term relationship with the airline.”
Sahaab Aircraft Leasing was launched in October 2008 with the Kuwait-based airline Jazeera Airways being its first customer. The company was acquired earlier by Jazeera Airways Group as part of the Group’s vertical integration strategy of investing in services that compliment passenger airline operations.
Boodai added, “With Sahaab’s first placement taking place just a few months after the acquisition, it is already creating tangible synergies as intended as well as contributions to the Group’s bottom line”.
Virgin America operates from its home base of San Francisco to high-demand destinations across the U.S. and Canada, including Boston, Washington D.C., Las Vegas, New York and Toronto. Known for its award-winning service, stylish design and innovative amenities, Virgin America has been growing and winning over travelers since its August 2007 launch. The airline offers mood-lit cabins, the most advanced touch-screen in-flight entertainment platform in the North American skies and custom-designed leather seats. Virgin America has swept the major travel awards, including “Best Airline” in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2008 and 2009 Readers’ Choice Awards and for the past three consecutive years in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards.
“We’re pleased to partner with Sahaab as we continue to grow aggressively and expand our network in North America,” said Holly Nelson, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Virgin America. “With strong demand, a healthy projected revenue environment and expansion to several new cities ahead – this partnership will help fuel our network and financial growth.”
Virgin America continues to experience significant growth with the addition of four new destinations in 2010. In July 2010, the growing airline placed one of the year’s largest single aircraft orders at the Farnborough International Airshow – announcing plans to order 40 new aircraft. The airline’s fleet is projected to grow by two-thirds by the end of 2011 and will triple in size by 2016. Virgin America continues to expand at its base of operations at San Francisco International Airport, as one of two anchor tenants in the airport’s new $383m Silver LEED certified Terminal 2 facility – which is slated to open in the spring of 2011.