Saudi Arabian Airlines received 84 jets in past 5 years as it transforms operations

The drive to upgrade the fleet was part of its SV 2020 agenda, a programme it launched in sync with the kingdom’s Visions 2030

Saudia has invested significantly in upgrading its fleet in recent years. Alamy
Saudia has invested significantly in upgrading its fleet in recent years. Alamy

Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation, the state-owned airline known as Saudia, received 84 jets over the past five years as part of a fleet modernisation drive and has added jobs across the board as it transforms its operations, a senior airline official said.

The fleet update means Saudia now has one of the most modern fleets in the world, assistant director-general for communications Khaled Tash said in comments carried by state news agency SPA.

The drive to upgrade jets is part of the airline's SV 2020 agenda, launched in sync with the kingdom's own Vision 2030 plans five years ago, he said without giving details of the aircraft received or the number of jobs added.

In March, Saudia signed an 11.2 billion Saudi riyal ($3bn) agreement with six local banks to finance the purchase of 73 aircraft.

The funding deal, the biggest in the airline’s history, is being used for the previously-announced purchase of 20 Airbus A321neo aircraft, 15 A321XLRs and 30 A320neos as well as eight Boeing 787-10s. The Airbus A320neos will be used by the company's low-cost brand, flyadeal.

Saudia is upgrading its fleet to expand capacity to serve the kingdom's plans to attract 100 million tourists and 30 million Umrah pilgrims per year under its Vision 2030 economic diversification agenda. The airline took delivery of its fifth Boeing 787-10 in October, bringing the number of aircraft it operates to 170.

“This agreement will contribute substantially to the kingdom’s long-term economic growth and development," Saudi Arabia's Minister of Transport, Saleh bin Nasser Al Jasser, said in March. “Fleet expansion will boost tourism and its allied sectors, generate substantial employment opportunities, significantly improve air connectivity and enhance the flow of foreign investments."

Mr Tash on Tuesday said the airline is a strategic partner to the tourism ministry in connecting new tourism projects and cities with international and domestic flights.

The airline is also cooperating with the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, offering digital products that facilitate access to holy sites for pilgrims and Umrah visitors.

On Sunday, Saudia and Gulf Air, Bahrain's national airline, said they would activate a codeshare agreement along a number of routes, starting from this summer.

Published: April 27, 2021 04:13 PM

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