Syrian Arab Airlines, also known as SyrianAir, is the national airline of Syria. It operates both domestic and international services and its main base is Damascus International Airport. Syrian Air is a member of the Arab Air Carriers Organization. The airline employs a staff of 5,325 and is wholly owned by the Syrian government. Syrian Arab Airlines has code share agreements with Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Yemenia Airlines.
The origin of Syrian Arab Airlines can be traced back to 1946, when its forerunner Syrian Airways was established. Its first internal and external flights were carried out using helicopters. Syrian Air was established in October 1961, by the Government of Syria, to succeed Syrian Airways. In 1963, when the Syrian Revolution took place, the airline entered jet age, by acquiring four Super-Caravel jet-engine planes. Its western journey began with flights to Rome & Munich.
After the Syrian Revolution, Syrian Arab Airlines went for a major expansion of its fleet. It included new 747-SP Jumbo jets and 727-200 aircraft from Boeing as well as the Russian built TU-154 in its fleet. When the United States imposed sanctions on Syria, updates to Syrianair were interrupted. This continued till October of 1998, when Airbus A320-200 was bought.
In 1970, Syrian Arab Airlines acquired some soviet aircrafts; by the virtue of Syria's close political ties with the Soviet Union, some of which it uses in its operations till today. The aircrafts taken from the Soviet Union include Antonov An-26, Ilyushin Il-76 and Yakovlev Yak-40 in the 1970s and Tupolev Tu-134B-3 and Tupolev Tu-154M in the 1980s. In July 1978, the airline opened a joint service with Royal Jordanian to New York.
Syrian Arab Airlines currently operates scheduled international services to over 51 destinations in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North Africa. It covers Russia, Romania, Armenia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and U.K. In Asia, it serves destinations like Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and UAE while it caters to Egypt, Sudan, Libya and Algeria in Northern Africa. In India, the airline flies to Delhi and Mumbai.
As on June 2009, Syrian Arab Airlines had a fleet of 25 aircrafts. These included Airbus A320-200, Ilyushin Il-76M, Tupolev Tu-154B, Yak-40K, McDonnell Douglas MD-11, and Boeing 747SP. It has leased the two Ilyushin Il-76M aircrafts and one Airbus A320-200.