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- Saudi Arabian Airlines
P.O.Box 620,Jeddah 21231
Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia
- Main hub
- Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport
- Saudi Arabia
- Business model
- Full Service Carrier
- Domestic | International
- Frequent Flyer Programme
- Joined Alliance
- Association Membership
- Codeshare Partners
Air Europa Lineas Aereas
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Middle East Airlines
Royal Air Maroc
Based in Jeddah, Saudia is the national airline of Saudi Arabia and is wholly owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The airline operates a network of domestic and regional services within Saudi Arabia and the Middle East as well as Asia, Europe and North America from its main base at Jeddah-King Abdulaziz International Airport.
Previously named Saudi Arabian Airlines, the carrier formally joined the SkyTeam alliance on 29-May-2012, becoming the alliance's 16th global member and first member from the Middle East. Saudi Arabian also used the occasion to re-brand, adopting its old name of "Saudia".
Location of Saudia main hub (Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport)
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Late in the past century, Airbus and Boeing established competing visions for the future of air travel and shaped their aircraft products accordingly. Airbus envisaged a future of strong hub-to-hub flying that would require its A380. Boeing foresaw the emergence of new long haul city pairs as airlines bypassed hubs to link small/medium cities directly point-to-point with its 787.
Both manufacturers were right – and wrong. Hubs dominate, yet most airlines prefer medium/large aircraft and not the very large aircraft category, consisting of A380s and 747-8s. A380 sales have lagged, raising questions about the aircraft's future, while Boeing is cutting 747-8 production again and has acknowledged that it may need to end production entirely.
Boeing positioned its 787 as a “hub-buster” that would not require passengers to transfer through hubs. Yet 73% of 787 flights are between hubs, among those operated by airlines with more than hub. Hub-to-secondary flights are few, but demonstrate some of Boeing's objectives with the 787: new routes and more frequencies. While hubs dominate, the 787 has given rise to smaller hubs like Denver and Calgary. Partnerships also help explain 787 network deployment: 66% of 787 flights are on routes without a partnership, perhaps indicating airline preference for a lower-risk aircraft.
Boeing's 777-300ER was a late bloomer. The variant rolled out in 2002 and had its first delivery in 2004. Yet half of the variant's orders were placed in 2010 and beyond. Two of its record years of sales, 2007 and 2011, coincided with sharp rises in jet fuel, resulting in airlines accelerating retirement of their four engined aircraft. Boeing largely kept business within the family, as the 777-300ER effectively rendered the 747 obsolete; Airbus' A340 succession plan was not so clear.
The world's most powerful twin-engine has come to define the long haul fleets of its biggest operators. The largest, Emirates, operates 114 – almost as many as the next three largest operators combined: Cathay Pacific (53), Air France (40) and Qatar Airways (31). The -300ER variant has 796 orders, comprising over half of all orders for the 777 family. A late bloomer became popular. In Feb-2016 SWISS commenced 777-300ER services, its first time operating the 777. United and Kuwait Airways will also take their first -300ERs in 2016. Orders have slowed since the 777X came into the picture, and in Jan-2016 Boeing announced a production decrease. Boeing still needs to sell new 777s to bridge the production gap until the 777X, but airlines are focusing on growth through second hand acquisitions: British Airways is interested, while Turkish Airlines is taking Kenya Airways' -300ERs.
A vigorous programme of airport privatisation is under way in Saudi Arabia, led by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) and starting with the King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh, where the process has begun this year. GACA has also let it be known that the privatisation of the Jeddah and Dammam airports is targeted for conclusion in 2017, with domestic and local airports expected to follow between 2018 and 2020.
This report examines the background to this decision, which comes at the same time as Iran is seeking to attract foreign investors to its transport sectors, and also the attractions of the main individual airports. Politics will have a major role to play.
Air France flight 439 from Mexico City arrived in Paris CDG on 11-Jan-2016, and was the airline's last commercial 747 passenger flight.
The service brings to an end over 45 years of 747 flights at the French flag carrier. Later in 2016 Cathay Pacific and Saudia will also retire their passenger 747 models. Once a ubiquitous sight, 747-400s are disappearing, 221 of them now remaining in service (according to CAPA's Fleet Database). One third of them are in service with just three airlines: British Airways, United Airlines and KLM. BA operates almost twice as many 747-400s as the next largest operator, and still intends to have a 19-strong fleet by the end of 2020.
Almost half of the world's passenger 747-400s are with European carriers, but seven of the world's 10 longest 747-400 routes are to/from Australia, all operated by Qantas. Of the 15 longest 747-400 routes, all but one are to/from Asia-Pacific.
The fading of the 747-400 has meant a diminishing role on long haul routes. The aircraft type accounted for nearly half of Asia-Europe and Asia-North America flights in 1H2006, but in 1H2016 it accounts for less than 10%. On the trans-Atlantic, 747 flights have gone from a 15% share to 9%.
The gradual liberalisation and infrastructure improvement in the Saudi Arabian aviation sector continues to build momentum, with the opening of Madinah Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz Airport new privatised terminal at the beginning of Jul-2015.
The completion of the Madinah Airport project in western Saudi Arabia represents another milestone in the ongoing privatisation in Saudi's aviation sector. By looking to private partners for solutions, Saudi Arabia is accelerating the development of aviation infrastructure which has held back the growth of its airline sector, and of the wider economy.
The construction of new airports, alongside the development of existing facilities such as this new terminal, is needed for the country to support long-term plans to turn aviation into an economic driver in the kingdom. As oil prices remain depressed, the Saudi economy is increasingly looking to its non-oil sectors to ensure growth continues. Private participation will only take on an increasing level of importance, in aviation and elsewhere.
Following the withdrawal of its short-lived long-haul flying, Saudi Arabian LCC flynas is concentrating on its core domestic market, which accounts for just under two-thirds of seat capacity in Apr-2015, according to OAG data. The domestic Saudi market had been challenging with the existence of a domestic fare cap and national carrier Saudia receiving subsidised fuel.
flynas is benefitting from a late 2014 change that allows it to exceed the fare cap for bookings within 10 days of departure - an essential part pf many LCCs' revenue management strategies. A few days before departure Saudia typically has only limited inventory remaining and is unable to increase economy fares, leaving flynas as the only option.
flynas aims to carry six million passengers in 2015 with a fleet of 24 A320s, making it the Middle East's third largest LCC after flydubai (46 aircraft) and Air Arabia (36). Like other airlines, flynas is looking to grow partnerships. It may join Air Arabia in partnering with Filipino LCC Cebu Pacific, which operates long-haul A330 flights to the Middle East. There could also be a partnership with Turkey's Pegasus.