Saudi Arabian Airlines is the national airline of Saudi Arabia. Based in Jeddah, the airline operates domestic as well as international scheduled flights to over 70 destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. The airline also operates domestic and international charter flights. Its chief international hub is King Abdulaziz International Airport, (JED), Jeddah, with one more hub located at King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh. Saudi Arabian Airlines is also a member of the Arab Air Carriers Organization. Explore more about the profile and history of Saudi Arabian Airlines, in the lines below.
The year 1945 paved the way for the gradual development of civil aviation industry in Saudi Arabia, when the US President Franklin Roosevelt presented Douglas DC-3 aircraft as a gift to the then Saudi King - Abdul Aziz. This led to the formation of Saudi Arabian Airlines - the national flag-carrier of the country - in 1946. The airline, fully owned by the Saudi Arabian Government, started its operations by plying flights from Jeddah to Dhahran. It also plied a special flight from Lydda in Palestine, to carry Hajj pilgrims to Jeddah. The airline started its international operations on June 10, 1945, when the route to Damascus was opened.
By receiving five Bristol 170 aircrafts in 1949, Saudi Arabian Airlines found it easier, to operate both passenger and cargo services. Thereafter, the airline expanded gradually and included more destinations to its network. In 1962, it became the first Middle Eastern airline to fly jets when it took delivery of two Boeing 720s. The airline became a registered and fully independent company, on February 19, 1963. The operating name of the airline was changed from Saudi Arabian Airlines to Saudia on April 1, 1972. In 1996, the airline went for a new corporate identity. The Saudia name was dropped in the identity revamp, and Saudi Arabian Airlines was resurrected.
In 2000, privatization of the airline was initiated, when Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the Saudi Minister of Defence and Aviation, signed a contract for the same. Thereafter, the airline grew substantially. The privatization process of the airline began in 2006. For the purpose, the airline was divided into Strategic Business Unit (SBU) and its catering unit was aimed to privatize first. The strategic units were converted into companies, when Saudi Arabia's Council of Ministers gave the approval, in August 2007. Subsequently, the ground services, technical services, air cargo, Prince Sultan Aviation Academy and the catering unit were proposed to become subsidiaries of a holding company.
Destinations And Fleet
Saudi Arabian Airlines covers a number of destinations in its home country - Saudi Arabia, as well as a number of international destinations in four continents - Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. In India, the airline flies to Bangalore, Calicut, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Mumbai. Saudi Arabian Airlines operates a fleet consisting of 100 aircrafts, which includes Airbus A300B4-605R, Airbus A320-200, Airbus A321-200, Airbus A330-200, Airbus A330-300, Boeing 747-100B, Boeing 747-300, Boeing 747-400, Boeing 757-200, Boeing 777-200ER, Boeing 787-9, Embraer E-170LR and McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30.