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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
- Joined Alliance
- Association Membership
- Codeshare Partners
- Air France
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Middle East Airlines
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".
Saudia has its own cargo division, Saudi Airlines Cargo, which services over 20 destinations with a dedicated cargo fleet.
Location of Saudia main hub (Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport)
504 total articles
47 total articles
Qatar Airways has named its forthcoming Saudi Arabian carrier "Al Maha Airways" but says it will not start operations until the first half of 2014 at the earliest. While Qatar has been unusually quiet on the operation and is not known to have ever stated a launch date, Saudi regulators had said it would launch before the end of 2013 as part of its liberalisation process. Qatar, along with a Gulf Air-linked group, was awarded in Dec-2012 a licence to operate domestic flights in Saudi Arabia as part of overdue reform in the aviation and tourism sector.
The Saudi government is right to rejuvenate the sector, but reform in early initiatives – the privatisation of Saudi Arabian Airlines – has proven slow. It now seems loosening the reigns on the domestic market is more challenging than imagined by regulator General Authority of Civil Aviation. GACA says it has had prolonged negotiations with government entities to reduce fuel prices for new carriers. Saudi Arabian Airlines receives fuel subsidies that distort the market and forced the exit in 2010 of start-up Sama. A cap on domestic fares makes some flights unprofitable even for Saudi. Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker told Reuters in reserved remarks he has an "undertaking" from Saudi authorities that these two "contentious issues" will be resolved. While domestic growth has lagged international growth – creating opportunity – there are, as Mr Baker said, "many challenges".
Kuwait Airways is saddled with one of the oldest and least efficient fleets in the Middle East, but the carrier is reportedly considering postponing its long awaited fleet order with Airbus, in favour of a deal involving short-term aircraft leases. The option to postpone the long-term solution may be the best avenue for the debt-laden carrier to accelerate replacement of its badly ageing aircraft, while sidestepping the political interference that has dogged previous acquisition plans.
Meanwhile, neighbouring Middle East airlines will add more than 50 widebody aircraft this year and another 50 in 2014, as carriers in the region continue to expand their fleets with high-capacity, long-range aircraft to fill out their globe-spanning networks. At the same time, they are dictating the options for other airlines in the region.
More than half of the aircraft scheduled to be delivered to the region over the next five years are widebody aircraft, including large numbers of next generation aircraft types such as the 787 and A350.
The Saudi Arabian General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has confirmed that Qatar Airways and Gulf Air will launch domestic operations in the country before the end of 2013. The granting of the licences to two foreign carriers to operate domestic service is an unparalleled move of openness in the Middle East. It will start a new era for travel within the country.
The opening of the Saudi Arabian market presents a new challenge to national airline Saudia. However, after several years of facing competition from domestic carriers and a thorough modernisation ahead of its entry into SkyTeam in 2012, as well as the extended international reach that alliance membership offers it, the carrier is in a better position now to meet the latest threat.
EgyptAir continues to make massive losses as the carrier and Egypt struggle to recover from the Jan-2011 revolution which resulted in the airline moving into crisis mode for two months when it was forced to temporarily ground up to 40% of its fleet and as 80% of revenue evaporated.
Egypt’s Minister of Civil Aviation Wael al-Maddawy reportedly told the Shura Council Transportation Committee in Mar-2013 that losses at the national carrier had reached more than EGP6 billion (USD885 million) since the revolution. EgyptAir is yet to publicly release its annual report for FY2012 which ended 30-Jun-2012, but Mr Maddawy said EGP650 million (USD95.7 million) of the losses were due to the weakening of the EGP to the USD.
“EgyptAir’s losses are huge, but not catastrophic, [as they won’t] lead to the closure or selling of the company,” Mr Maddawy said. The carrier is burdened with 32,000 employees, when it needs just 12,000 to operate the carrier. Some 20,000 more employees than it needs. However, the carrier is prevented from reducing its headcount due to the prevailing social circumstances, according to Mr Maddawy.
Indonesia's short-haul airline market has quietly been booming for the past decade, as carriers seek to meet demand from a 240 million strong population spread over islands and difficult terrain, making aviation an ideal transport. Not to be forgotten however are long-haul markets, critical for a country with a rising middle class as well as the world's largest Muslim population.
That once meant seasonal religious charters but now it also means growing trade with the Middle East and north Africa – and Indonesia becoming a safe and democratic destination for Middle East markets to visit. So it comes naturally that Middle East carriers are advancing strategic developments in Indonesia. But they are doing it in their typically contrasting styles: Etihad will partner with flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, while Emirates plots its own capacity expansion with a third daily 777-300ER service to Jakarta, making the Indonesian capital Emirates' third largest non-stop destination by ASKs.
Middle East Airlines (MEA) formally joined SkyTeam on 28-Jun-2012, becoming the alliance’s 17th member and second anchor in the fast growing Middle East region. With the addition of Saudi Arabia Airlines (Saudia) to SkyTeam at the end of May-2012, SkyTeam has swiftly and firmly expanded its presence in the region, which had previously been one of the alliance’s chief white spots.
With a fleet of 16 aircraft and only 30 destinations MEA does not have the heft of Saudia, or some other prospective alliance partners in the region. But it also does not come with the baggage that some other partners would bring. Unlike the ‘Big 3’ of the Gulf region – Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airlines – MEA’s ambitions and international reach are relatively modest and will not significantly overlap with existing SkyTeam members. It has also been consistently profitable over the past decade, something of a rarity for smaller state-owned carriers in the Middle East, and has an efficient, modern fleet offering reasonable service and product standards.
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