State-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) is looking at funding options, including its first-ever bond sale, to fund new aircraft orders as part of its expansion plan, Director General Ibrahim Alomar told Bloomberg.

“We will go out to the market, we are evaluating the options,” he told Bloomberg, adding the potential funding size is not finalised.

The national carrier aims to expand its fleet from 177 aircraft to 317 to serve 30 million religious tourists visiting Mecca by 2030, the report added.

The airline already has financing in place to cover its needs until mid-2024, Alomar told Bloomberg.

In March, Reuters reported that Saudia and Riyadh Air will each buy 39 widebody 787s from the US planemaker Boeing. The deal contains options for 10 additional Dreamliners for Saudia and 33 for Riyadh Air.

“The airlines will operate independently but look to collaborate in areas such as maintenance and other services,” the report said, quoting Alomar.

Earlier this week, Saudia unveiled its new visual identity and incorporated artificial intelligence into its operational processes.

(Editing by Seban Scaria