New look Saudia's ambitious plans for tourism

The national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia will add 20 more Airbus A321neo aircraft to its fleet by 2026 to meet the objectives of the Saudi aviation strategy (SAS) to bring around 330 million visitors to the country by 2030.


Saudia orders more A321neo - how they will look in the new livery. Picture: Saudia

Saudi Arabian Airlines has introduced a new livery featuring a green, blue, and sand colour scheme which will roll out across the fleet - and the 20 new aircraft on order.

“Our priority is to offer the best guest experience possible and to bring the world to Saudi Arabia, and we will continue to purchase state-of-the-art aircraft from the world’s top manufacturers to deliver on that promise while contributing to make aviation more sustainable,” said captain Ibrahim Koshy, Saudia’s CEO.

The airline’s performance report for the first half of 2023, following the Hajj season, shows “distinguished operating rates” during the peak of the summer travel season with an on-time-performance rate of 83.8 per cent.

The Saudi Airlines Catering Company (SACC) also played a major role during the pilgrimage season, by providing best-in class production of meals in compliance with international standards.

Saudia Private Aviation (SPA) operated 192 flights and offered competitive services in four domestic airports, including King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, and Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Medina.

Saudia said it is targeting key markets like China as part of its route development plan. Last August, the airline launched its first direct flight to Beijing, in collaboration with the air connectivity programme (ACP).

Tourism is a pillar of Saudi Vision 2030, and China is ranked among the top global sources of tourists. This new route marks a milestone towards Saudi Arabia’s ambitious economic diversification agenda.

According to IATA, the air transport market in Saudi Arabia is forecast under the “current trends” scenario to grow by 126 per cent in the next 20 years. This would result in an additional 54.8m passenger journeys by 2037.

If met, this increased demand would support approximately US$82.3bn of GDP and almost 1.2m jobs.

Anuradha Deenapanray

Anuradha Deenapanray

Anuradha is a francophone editor for African and Arabian Aerospace magazines.