Egypt's Nesma Airlines plans to add two used A330s to its fleet by September 2019, according to its chief executive Ashraf Lamloum.

The airline's Saudi-based unit will fly the 2005- or newer widebody aircraft on Hajj and Umrah charters to the Far East and West Africa, operating under a wet lease agreement with its Egyptian parent.

Keeping the aircraft under the Egyptian AOC is cost advantageous, says Lamloum.

Nesma Airlines also plans to replace two older A320s on lease in 2019, opting instead for younger model aircraft.

Meanwhile, the carrier has no plans to expand from Cairo due to profitability concerns as a result of strong competition in the current environment.

Similar concerns also prompted the Saudi-based Nesma Airlines to stop operating A320s in the Kingdom as of October 2018. The aircraft were repatriated back to Egypt.

Nesma had operated the aircraft out of Jeddah since 2016.

Despite the setback, turboprop flights from Ha’il will continue even though they are still not profitable. However, the flights are still being subsidized by the government of Saudi Arabia, who is in talks with the carrier to expand the network and add a potential second hub in the Kingdom.