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Saudia plans to add 56 new weekly flights

Saudia Saudi Arabian Airlines Reuters/Ahmed Yosri
The number of passengers through Saudi Arabia’s airports in 2022 reached almost 88 million, an increase of 82 percent over 2021
  • Airline adds flights to China, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand
  • Kingdom plans to treble passenger traffic by 2030
  • Saudia joined by new airlines Riyadh Air and Neom Airlines

State-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) plans to add 56 weekly flights to 14 global destinations by the summer as it continues to ramp up operations.

Under the expansion, the national flag carrier of the kingdom will serve cities across Thailand, China, South Korea, Indonesia, Singapore and Europe in the latest addition to its scheduling.

It follows an announcement in March that the airline would be flying to 25 new destinations this year in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. 

Saudia CEO Captain Ibrahim Koshy said: “The increase in frequency also means greater connectivity to our growing network and the opportunity to welcome more visitors to the kingdom.”

Saudia, which currently operates 142 aircraft, announced an order with Boeing for 39 fuel-efficient 787s last month with options for 10 more airplanes. It forms plans to grow its long-haul fleet with the selection of up to 49 787 Dreamliners.

Since opening to tourism in 2019 Saudi has been recognised as the fastest-growing tourism destination in the G20. The country previously focused on religious tourists embarking on Umrah and Hajj pilgrimages.

The Air Transport Statistics Publication from the kingdom’s General Authority for Statistics showed that the number of passengers through Saudi Arabia’s airports in 2022 reached almost 88 million, an increase of 82 percent over 2021.

Saudia recorded the highest market share in terms of the number of flights with about 283,000, followed by foreign airlines (173,000) and then low-cost carriers Flynas (104,000) and Flyadeal (77,000).

The number of countries connected to the kingdom’s airports in 2022 reached 56, an increase of 10 from 2021.

By 2030 Saudi Arabia plans to increase the number of international aviation routes to over 250 and more than treble total annual passenger traffic from 109 million in 2019 to 330 million.

In March Saudi Arabia announced the launch of two new airlines. Riyadh Air is expected to create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs and add $20 billion to the kingdom’s non-oil economy. Neom Airlines, meanwhile, will solely serve the $500 billion Neom city in the northwest of the kingdom.