SAUDIA started out in 1945 with a single twin-engine DC-3 (Dakota) HZ-AAX given to King Abdul Aziz as a gift by the U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This was followed months later with the purchase of two more DC-3s, and these formed the nucleus of what in few years later was to become one of the world's largest airlines.
Today SAUDIA has 142 aircraft, including the latest and most advanced wide-bodied jets presently available: B787-9, B777-268L, B777-300ER, Airbus A320-200, Airbus A321, and Airbus A330-300.
It is our pleasure to list the most important historical highlights of SAUDIA since its establishment until becoming one of the best airlines in the world.
History of the 40-50's
|The 1940-1950 History|
|1945||U.S. President Roosevelt gives King Abdul Aziz a gift of a Douglas DC-3 Dakota, following their historic meeting in the Suez Canal on February 14, 1945. The DC-3 was used on routes between Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhahran and carried both passengers and cargo. Two more DC-3s were purchased within months.|
|1946||SAUDIA was set up in this year as an operating agency of the Ministry of Defense. The airline's first airport and operating base was located at Kandara, close to what is today the downtown area of Jeddah. Haj pilgrims were flown to Jeddah from Lydda, Palestine and other countries. In the same year, SAUDIA requested permission for charter flights to London|
|1947||Two more Dakotas were purchased and scheduled services were operated both within the kingdom and to regional destinations such as Cairo and Damascus. The first scheduled domestic service took place on March 14th.|
|1948||Service started to Beirut|
|1949||The first of five Bristol 170s, Mark 21-E variant, adaptable for passengers or freight was delivered|
|1952||Five (5) four-engine Douglas DC-4s were purchased, their greater range permitting operations to Middle Eastern destinations. Service started to Amman and Karachi|
|1953||Services between Dhahran and Beirut were inaugurated besides starting service to Port Sudan, Asmara, Istanbul and Kuwait|
|1954||Ten (10) Convair 340s, the airline's first pressurized aircrafts, were purchased and delivered between 1954 and 1955.
In the same year, first flight landed to TUU station by Dakota (DC-3, 24 seats) (sand runway).
|1955||By its tenth anniversary, the airline had brought all outlying communities of the Kingdom to within a few hours' journey of each other, both to and from Riyadh and Jeddah, which is the local transport hub for the annual Haj pilgrimage. The first maintenance shops were built in Jeddah|
|1959||In April of this year, a daily air shuttle service between Jeddah and Riyadh was inaugurated, using the pressurized Convair-Liners|
History of the 60's
|History of the 60's|
|1961||Routes were established to Sharjah and Tehran. In the same year, SAUDIA purchased two (2) Boeing 720-Bs and introduced in- Kingdom training programs|
|1962||In March this year, SAUDIA introduced B720-Bs into service thus becoming the first airline in the Middle East to operate commercial jet airliners|
|1963||SAUDIA was established as a corporation. By Royal Decree No. 45 dated February 19, 1963, signed by King Faisal, the airline became an autonomous entity, run by a Board of Directors and chaired by the Minister of Defense and Aviation|
|1964||Two (2) DC-6s were acquired with a third one joining the airline's fleet in 1965. Routes to Khartoum and Dubai were started|
|1965||The airline joined the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO) as a founding member on August 25th. Service started to Bombay|
|1967||SAUDIA joined the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on April 17th. It took delivery of three (3) Douglas DC-9 twin-jets. In February of the same year, routes were opened to Tunis, Rabat and Tripoli (all via Beirut). Likewise, European connections to Geneva, Frankfurt and London (via Beirut) were opened in May|
|1968||Two (2) Boeing 707-368s joined the fleet. Nonstop, twice weekly flights to London were inaugurated|
|1969||Algiers was added to the network of destinations|
History of the 70's
|history of the 70's|
|1971||Data Processing Centre was opened in Jeddah. New route to Rome from Jeddah opened. First nonstop all-cargo service started between the Kingdom and Europe.
In the same year, new modern runway, Saudia opened the first branch in Tabuk.
|1972||SAUDIA adopted new livery and took the name Saudia. By this time, the airline was flying to 49 destinations on three continents. This year, the airline received its first five (5) 737-200s which replaced the DC-9s, Convair 340s and DC-3s, making its fleet the most modern in the Middle East, with two B-707s, two B-720s and five 737-200s, which would later grow to a total of twenty. It was now possible to link 20 cities in the Kingdom.|
|1973||SAUDIA carried one million scheduled passengers for the first time. Special flights planned for the mass movement of teachers.|
|1974||New routes opened to Paris and Muscat, plus a direct Medina-Karachi route. Two (2) wide-bodied Tri-Stars ordered from Lockheed. These 214-seat aircraft would grow to a total of twenty.
In the same year, Saudia started flights to IST, BEY, DAM, AMM, CAI, from Tabuk.
|1975||Twin jet Fairchild F-27J, 48-seat turboprops replaced the DC-3s in the fleet. The airline celebrated its 30th Anniversary with the purchase of two more B-707s. First of (20) L1011 Tri-Stars went into service on August 15th.|
|1976||On June 1, the Arabian Express, a no-reservation shuttle service, was introduced to handle the booming business traffic on the intensively-traveled Jeddah/Riyadh route. This service was extended to Dhahran on 1st August. Special Flight Services (SFS) Division was established for government and VIP service.|
|1977||On June 1 of this year, two 377-seat Boeing 747-200B entered service.|
|1978||SAUDIA switched over to its new Automated Reservations System. Jeddah reservations installed a Collins Automated Call Distribution (ACD) System, handling incoming reservation calls in an organized, systematic manner. Service started to Athens, Kano and Stockholm.|
|1979||Flight Training Center opened. On February 1, the airline commenced joint operations with Pan Am from Dhahran to New York using long-range Boeing B747-SPs to achieve nonstop capability. Five (5) Tri-Stars joined the fleet.|
History of the 80's
|History of the 80's|
|1980||Three (3) additional Tri-Stars joined the fleet. Also two 60-seat Fokker F-28 Fellowships, rear-engine twin-jets replaced F-27A. Routes were opened to Bangkok, Dhaka, Mogadishu and Nairobi|
|1981||SAUDIA moved into its exclusive terminal at the newly-opened King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah. Saudi Airlines Catering Service was established. Technical division moved into the new hangar and maintenance complex. On July 1st, the first nonstop service was inaugurated from Jeddah to New York with the airline's very own Boeing B747-SP aircrafts. This service, along with the Riyadh-New York service introduced later, are the only nonstop flights covering four continents, linking Asia and America, and over flying Africa and Europe in between. Flights to Madrid started. Boeing 747F cargo service begun to London, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam|
|1982||Ten (10) B-747s in service by the end of this year. Flights started to Singapore, Manila, Delhi and Islamabad and resumed to Sharjah|
|1983||SAUDIA carried 11.4 million passengers this year. Nonstop flights to Seoul started. A route to Nice (summer season only) was also opened and services to Baghdad were resumed. The new King Khaled International Airport opened in Riyadh. Rolls-Royce RB-211 power plant overhaul shop opened in Jeddah|
|1984||First Airbus A300-600 for which SAUDIA was the launch customer was delivered in March. Eleven (11) Airbus A300-600s were received and put into operation by October of the same year. Operations to Colombo started. Two (2) Cessna Citation IIs delivered to Special Flight Services charter operations. MEMIS (Materials Engineering Information System) was brought in-house after being hosted by Alitalia since 1979|
|1985||Five (5) of ten (10) new Boeing 747-300s SUD (Stretched Upper Deck) delivered. Basic flight training began in the Kingdom|
|1986||Five (5) more B-747-300s delivered and introduced into operation. On September 1st, established air cargo hub in Brussels. Flights started to Amsterdam and Lahore|
|1987||Gulf Cooperation Council Aviation Services Co. Ltd. (GASCO) was established for Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and U.A.E. This was a pioneering step towards close cooperation among GCC countries. Business class ("Horizon Class") was inaugurated on New York, London, and Cairo routes (other sectors followed soon after). New routes to Dakar and Kuala Lumpur operated. SARS (Saudi Airlines Automated Reservations System) had a successful cutover of operations from London to Jeddah. SAUDIA subscribed to Bahamas system of baggage handling and management|
|1988||On June 15th, flights inaugurated to Washington D.C., an extension of the New York service. Air cargo hub established in Taipei, Taiwan. GASCO established in-flight catering service in London, with the Marriott Corporation. GASCO has a 50% share in the kitchen, which specializes in Islamic catering|
|1989||Flights started to Larnaca and Addis Ababa. Domestic service started to Hafr al-Batin. Kitchen in London became operational as Marriott/GCC (now Caterair/GCC In-flight Services, Inc.)|
History of the 90's
|History of the 90's|
|1990||An all-cargo route was opened up to Tokyo, Japan as an extension of the Taipei service.|
|1991||On April 1st, flights started operating to Madras (Chennai), the airline's third Indian destination.|
|1992||New hostess uniforms designed by Saudi couturier Adnan Akbar were introduced.|
|1993||Flights operated to Asmara.|
|1994||Seasonal service operated to Orlando, Florida, effective July 4th. Air phone installed in selected aircrafts.|
|1995||SAUDIA celebrated 50th Anniversary. On January 7th, Economy Class was upgraded and designated as Guest Class. Children's meal introduced. Al-Faris executive meal introduced in First Class for passengers who want to have their meals at any time of their choice. On October 25, 1995, SAUDIA order of 61 new aircrafts from Boeing and McDonnell Douglas was signed and finalized in Washington D.C.|
|1996||New corporate identity was launched on 16 July. Scheduled services to Asmara and Addis Ababa started from Riyadh on 2nd April. Flights to Johannesburg started effective 28 October. Dhahran-Cairo flights started effective 14 December. SAUDIA website goes on-line 4 December.|
|1997||The first of the new aircrafts arrived in Riyadh on 25th December. Scheduled operations to Beirut resumed on February 1st, introducing reading material in Braille for blind passengers.
In the same year, Saudia built a new building.
|1998||In mid-January, the first of the new aircrafts, that is, B747-468 (HZ-AIV), B777-268 (HZ-AKB) & MD-11 (HZ-ANA) were introduced into service. The airline's first MD-90 arrived in April.|
|1999||Starting June 1st, operations to Alexandria, Athens and Milan on a year-round basis; and Malaga and Nice, during the peak season were started. New routes were also started between Dhahran-Beirut and Riyadh-Sana'a. The airline operated its first flight SV1108 to King Fahd International Airport (KFIA) on November 28th. Smoking was banned on SAUDIA' flights between the Kingdom and GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries, and to/from several other Middle Eastern & African countries. SAUDIA is among the pioneers to stop smoking on its flights with the ban on smoking on its domestic flights of less than two hours taking effect in 1987.|
The History 2000
|The History 2000|
|2000||The airline's usher in a new era with H.R.H. Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Minister of Defense & Aviation signing a contract to conduct studies for the privatization of the airline on October 8th.
Scheduled service to Dhaka and Mumbai started from Madinah on October 31st. Also, scheduled service resumed to Kano, Nigeria, from Jeddah on October 31st.
Carried 1,367,745 passengers in August 2000, a record for the airline. Cargo freighter service started to Delhi. SAUDIA Catering produced a record 13.5 million meals during 2000 for SAUDIA' and 50 other international airlines flights.
Technical services and materials management divisions of the airline received ISO-9002:1994 certification while its print shop facility received ISO-9001:1994 certification from Moody International.
|2001||The final aircraft, a Boeing 777-268 (HZ-AKW) arrived in Jeddah on August 6, 2001, thus completing SAUDIA' order of 61 new generation aircraft.
Smoking banned on flights between the Kingdom and Europe beginning September 18th, 2001. Information technology, flight operations and cargo sales & services divisions received ISO-9001:2000 certification from Moody International.
|2002||SAUDIA' new Golden Service launched to Europe, the U.S., Dubai and Kuala Lumpur with flight SV035 departing for the U.S. on March 31, 2002.|
|2003||Presidency of Civil Aviation (PCA) certifies new Boeing-777 and MD-90 flight simulators at the Prince Sultan Aviation Sciences Academy.
Beginning October, a new unified reservations number (802-22222) was introduced to customers. European Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) granted SAUDIA the European Joint Aviation Requirements maintenance license (JAR 145).
Flights to Peshawar, capital of Pakistan's north west province, started October 27th with three weekly flights.
Saudia Catering receives prestigious awards from Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.
Nine Japanese groups of 198 tourists arrived on a chartered flight on December 27th as part of "Discover Saudi Arabia" tour packages.
|2004||New self check-in terminals at King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) inaugurated on February 28th.
Yahoo awards SAUDIA in ceremonies at Jumeirah Beach Hotel on 4th May "in recognition of the contribution made by advertisers and agencies to the growth of online advertising in the Middle East." The airline launches the First Total Quality Conference at the Jeddah Meridian Hotel. SAUDIA celebrates new record carrying over fifteen million passengers in one year.
|2005||SAUDIA introduces new telephone number (920022222) that unifies all reservation numbers within the Kingdom.
New mobile phones (SMS) service introduced for all passengers traveling on its international and domestic flights.
Flights, including reminders for purchasing tickets, reservations confirmation for wait-listed passengers and notification of changes in flight schedules.
|2005||SAUDIA signs new contract for 23 passenger buses for use at King Abdullaziz International Airport in Jeddah.
New cargo flights started between Saudi Arabia and Shanghai, People's Republic of China.
Flights to Prague, Czech Republic, continued for a second year. Mr. Pierre Jeanniot, Director General Emeritus of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) advises SAUDIA it has ranked first among forty-three world airlines on "Operational Safety Audits.
" SAUDIA celebrates its 60th Anniversary. A record 16 million passengers is carried for the year.
|2006||New Embraer service inaugurated on January 03rd with the launch of the first two aircrafts of its new Embraer fleet, a total of fifteen new Embraer 170 aircrafts in a $400 million self-financed deal. Express ticket &
boarding pass delivery service - customers can book online, pay online, and order tickets to be delivered to their shipping address within 24 Hours in main cities in Saudi Arabia.
Special counters renovated at King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh to accommodate passengers with special needs, provided them with special lounges at the airport's main terminals to facilitate their travel procedures.
In addition these lounges will be equipped with ramps, wheelchairs and special seats for their mobility and comfort.
Automated ticketing program scheduled to start and will include the development of the Stars ticketing and reservations system and connect all international stations.
|2007||Al-Fursan Golden Lounge at King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah launched on December 25th. New e-ticketing project launched with first e-ticket on route JED-DMM-JED.
E-Ticketing includes internet reservations, boarding pass self-service and voice recognizing system.
|2009||In the beginning of 2009, SAUDIA signed an agreement with SITA for upgrading the airline’s technical infrastructure and link 250 SV offices in 60 countries through the Internet.
The airline’s first Boeing 777 aircraft was launched after modernizing its passenger cabin at the technical services center in King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah. The website of the retirees was also unveiled.
On March 28, 2009, Saudia launched its flights to three Indian cities of Lucknow, Bangalore and Calicut. The airline also launched its first international flight from Abha to Cairo.
In the same year Saudia Private Aviation launched domestic and international flights for businessmen and top business executives. SPA has six Hawker aircraft with six seats to service to Gulf and Middle East and four Falcon X7s with 14 seats to operate flights to Asian, European and American destinations. SPA’s fleet will reach 40 by 2020.
On October 28, 2009 Saudia received two Airbus 320, which began operating flights on 16/11/2009. At present Saudia has 35 A320s, 15 A321s and 12 A330s, and will soon have 20 Boeing 777s, and eight B787 Dreamliners. The presence of 90 new aircraft would strengthen the airline’s competitive position and improve its services.
In November 2009, Saudia Cargo Company launched a new air freight station in Milan to boost cargo transport between the Kingdom and Italy.
The History 2010
On January 3, 2010 the first batch of graduates from Saudia’s Future Pioneers training program passed out. The program was introduced to train highly qualified Saudis to take up important positions in the various sectors of the organization.
On January 25, 2010 the RTB-DCS automatic passenger acceptance system for SAUDIA was launched at Khartoum Airport in Sudan.
In the same year a unified number for cancellation of reservation (920030000) was introduced as part of automatic services being provided to customers.
On March 6, 2010 Saudia signed letters of intent with Al-Ahli Capital and Morgan Stanley to become financial consultants for the privatization of the core airline unit.
On April 11, 2010 Saudia successfully shifted to the Amadeus passenger management system.
On May 1, 2010 the airline started implementing a new baggage allowance system on all its domestic flights.
In October, 2010 Saudia started providing mobile and Internet services on its Airbus 330 flights.
On October 24, 2010 Saudia Aerospace Engineering Industries, an affiliate of Saudi Airlines, signed an agreement with Human Resource Development Fund to train Saudi workers to take up aircraft maintenance jobs.
In the same year, the Saudia Cargo Company introduced a new system to transport extra baggage of passengers, especially for those returning from their vacations abroad.
On Dec. 12, 2010, Saudia signed a code-share agreement with Air France.
On Dec. 17, 2010, Saudia transferred France-bound reservation calls to its regional call center in Jordan, without incurring any additional expenses for passengers.
On January 10, 2011, SAUDIA signed an initial agreement to join SkyTeam global alliance, which has currently a membership of 15 airlines.
January 18, 2011 witnessed Saudia opening its newly designed ticket sales office in Paris.
March 27, 2011 was another important day in Saudia history when it began flights to the Chinese industrial city of Guangzhou, with three flights weekly.
In the same year, Saudia started providing SMS service to its passengers to give them the latest information about their flights as well as necessary guidance to facilitate their travel.
On March 30, 2011 Saudia shifted its operations at Heathrow Airport in London from Terminal 3 to Terminal 4, where advanced facilities are provided to passengers.
On June 16, 2011, Saudia Catering Company’s branch at King Fahd International Airport in Dammam received ICQA 2010 Golden Award of IATA from 230 catering companies in Europe, Africa and the Middle East for ensuring quality of its products and adopting industry best practices.
On August 8, 2011 Saudia Private Aviation launched its website on the Internet.
On November 26, 2011, Saudia won Digital Excellence Award organized by the Saudi Ministry of Information Technology and Communications for best IT applications and Arab content on its website.
January 23, 2012 was another important day when Saudia received two Boeing 777-300ERs among 20 such aircraft it had ordered from the American manufacturer.
In February 2012, Saudia Cargo Company received Stat Times Excellence Award during a ceremony in Mumbai, India.
On March 1, 2012 Saudia launched its first flight to Addis Ababa, using A320 aircraft.
During the same month, the airline launched its new logo and identity “Welcome to Your World” as well as its new interior design for Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
On the first of May 2012 reservation calls of Saudia passengers in the US and Canada have been transferred to the Call Center in Amman, Jordan as part of the airline’s efforts to provide quick services.
Saudia passengers who contact the Reservation Center in Washington for reservation, issuance of ticket and other services can get the same services from the Amman center that operates 24 hours and seven days a week as well as during weekly and public holidays without any halt.
Soon after the end of working hours at the Washington Center, the calls will be transferred to Amman. The calls of customers, who could not get in touch with employees at the Washington Center, being busy attending other customers, will also be transferred to Amman center.
On May 29, 2012, Saudia celebrated its joining of SkyTeam global alliance by signing agreements with member airlines. Saudia becomes the 16th member of SkyTeam alliance and the first member in the Middle East.
On June 19, 2012, Saudia’s Information Technology Unit, represented by Infrastructure Development and Support (IDS), has been adjudged by the Network Middle East, an ITP business publication, as the winner of “Best Fixed Networking Implementation 2012.”
On October 15, 2012, Saudia signed two separate contracts with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for joint training. According to the first contract, the airline’s training department will be considered as an accredited regional training center for IATA, whereas the second contract will initiate a joint partnership between the two parties at foreign training centers.
On November 19, 2012, Saudia signed two separate contracts, first to build an in-flight Services Academy, and the second to provide six devices simulation for cabin aircraft Airbus 320, 330, Embraer 170, Boeing 777, 747 and 787, and immediately upon completion of the establishment of the Academy will be possible to absorb and train seven thousand trainees per year, with modern training services using new aircraft models in order to upgrade the level of air service sector.
In December 2012, HH Prince Fahd bin Abdullah, president of the General Authority of Civil Aviation and chairman of Saudia’s board of directors, attended a convocation ceremony to mark the graduation of the first batch of an advanced training program for air stewards at the airline and their number was 50.
In the same month, Saudia Private Aviation launched its inflight entertainment system on iPad to provide the service on its flights including Falcon 7X and Hawker 400XP, thus becoming the first Arab private airline to provide the service.
The main feature of this system is that it will operate without Internet. Saudia, represented by its IT department, received the CIO 50 Award for the Middle East in 2012 during a ceremony in Dubai.
In January 2013, Saudia launched pre-flight information bulletins (PFIs) for management of the duties of air stewards and stewardesses.
A system has been developed to provide all information about the flight before take-off. This was introduced to help the stewards and stewardesses provide the best possible services to passengers.
In the same month, Saudia was selected among the best 10 airlines in the region for achieving high rates of on-time performance, especially in January 2013. The ranking was announced by Flightstats, a leading company in aviation services.
In February 2013, Prince Sultan Aviation Academy received a license and an international professional recognition from Boeing to become a globally recognized training center in order to provide advanced training to pilots including on simulators.
In March 5, 2013 Saudia signed an agreement with King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) to establish a smart techno park inside KAEC, which is located in Rabigh.
In March 2013 Saudia opened its new office in Manama at Platinum Tower in Al-Saif district. In 2013, Saudia achieved one of its major strategic goals by shifting to Amadeus Passenger Revenue Accounting, thus becoming the first airline in the world to receive the system from Amadeus.
During the same month, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) in the US renewed the license it had issued to Saudia Aerospace Engineering Industries after a five-member team of experts inspected the company’s facilities for two weeks.
Saudia also announced a unified telephone number to receive complaints, queries and proposals from passengers from within and outside Saudi Arabia (920003777).
The number operates from Saturday through Friday (from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.) It also introduced a new email address to inquire about lost baggage: email@example.com .
In May 2013 Saudia signed a memorandum of understanding with Amadeus, a leading company specialized in aviation programs, for cooperation with its Smart Technopark at KAEC in Rabigh to develop e-commerce systems and aviation solutions.
In May 2013 Saudia received its first Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with three classes including First and Business, with new specifications and designs during a ceremony at Seattle in the US.
June 2013: Saudi Airlines Cargo Company received excellence award during a ceremony organized by Air Cargo Week in Munich, Germany.
As part of its efforts to provide maximum comfort to passengers, Saudia launched its new Alfursan lounge at King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh for international flights. The lounge can accommodate 250 passengers at a time.
During the same month, Saudia unveiled its newly developed Alfursan program offering a number of benefits for customers.
October 27, 2013: Saudia launched its nonstop flights from Riyadh to Madrid with stopover in Jeddah, using A320.
During the same month, Saudia launched its flight to the Canadian city of Toronto after opening courters at Toronto airport.
October 2013 also witnessed installation of digital telephone systems, which helped saving money paid on international calls to contact its 250 offices worldwide.
During the same month, Saudia received the Arab Achievement Award 2013 instituted by the Arabian Business Magazine, which selected Saudia as airline of the year in the Middle East, after assessing its performance from January through September 2013.
December 2013: Saudia received the second position in on-time performance of flights in a list of airlines representing all continents, published by Flightstats.
Saudia launched a new laboratory at its main medical center in Jeddah, equipped with advanced medical facilities.
Saudia Cargo won International Excellence Award 2013 during the International Air Cargo Show in Mumbai, India.
At the end of 2013, Saudia achieved the highest rate in passenger transportation, carrying 25.24 million passengers on 177,435 flights with an average on-time performance of 90.46%.
On January 1, 2014, SAUDIA launched its flights from Abha to Cairo using Airbus.
During the same month, the airline’s first self-service machine in a Jeddah mall was launched.
In February 2014, the IT Department won the CIO Award for the third consecutive year.
During the same month, SAUDIA Cargo Company received the excellence award for the fastest growing airline in 2013 on the basis of a survey conducted by Stat Times, during a ceremony in Mumbai.
The month also witnessed SAUDIA celebrating the golden jubilee of its operations to Dubai. SAUDIA’s new office in the UAE city was also inaugurated.
SAUDIA held a ceremony in London to mark the graduation of 22 trainees from its Future Pioneers program, who represented the sixth group of the program’s graduates.
In March 2014, foundation stone was laid for the new SAUDIA office in Madinah while a partnership agreement was signed with American Lockheed Martin Co.
On March 25, 2014, HH Prince Fahd bin Abdullah, president of GACA and chairman of SAUDIA, officiated a convocation ceremony at Prince Sultan Aviation Academy to mark the graduation of trainees who have received high diploma in air navigation.
On March 31, 2014 SAUDIA launched its first flight to Los Angeles, the airline’s third destination in the US. It also launched the direct flight from King Fahd International Airport in Dammam to Istanbul.
On April 1, 2014, SAUDIA resumed its direct flight from Jeddah to Manchester.
The airline operates three weekly flights on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays using Boeing 777-300ER to the British city.
On April 8, 2014 SAUDIA won the Best Airline Award for providing Internet services and roaming service aboard its flights.
OnAir Company gave the award during the annual exhibition in Hamburg, Germany.
During the same month, SAUDIA won the first position and golden shield for achieving the highest on-time performance rate among 120 airlines operating to Dubai International Airport.
Also in April, SAUDIA won the sixth position among the international airlines for on-time performance in 2013. In May 2014, SAUDIA’s cargo company launched its electronic airway bill (e-AWB).
On May 26, 2014, the IT Department won the International Quality Award for the second consecutive year.
During the same month, Turkey joined the unified call center for booking seats on international flights.
On June 23, 2014, a new office for the retirees was opened at SAUDIA City in Jeddah.
On July 15, 2014, Skytrax raised SAUDIA’s rating to 4-Star Airline. It also won the International awards for the best economy class seat and best first class in-flight entertainment.
On August 3, 2014, Engr. Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser was appointed director general of SAUDIA, replacing Engr. Khaled Al-Molhem.
On November 9, 2014, two new Alfursan lounges for domestic and international passengers were launched at King Fahd International Airport in Dammam.
During the same month, SAUDIA sent a group of students to the US to study basic aviation science.
On November 16, the airline launched its women’s office in the Murooj district of Riyadh.
Commencing December 14, 2014, SAUDIA began operating two flights a week to Madinah from the Indonesian business cities of Surabaya and Medan.
On December 30, 2014, Saudia launched Its social networking program "Tawasol", which aims to strengthen the institutional loyalty between Saudia’s departments and the employees.
From the 1st of January, 2015, SAUDIA decided to extend the validity of domestic flight tickets from six months to one year along with the introduction of the “Book and Buy” system on domestic flights to make optimum use of the airline’s seat capacity.
In the same month Saudia launched the introductory version of its application for smart devices, which operates in the devices "iPhone" system environment (IOS) version 7 and beyond, which will provide efforts and time to Saudia guests without needing to review the procedures for sales offices.
From February 26th SAUDIA commenced two flights a week between Jeddah and Al-Ula as part of a strategic plan to expand its operations between the Kingdom’s cities.
In the month of April, SAUDIA launched a direct flight from Tabuk to Cairo as part of its effort to expand its international operations in response to marketing and passenger requirements.
In the same month, SAUDIA has started the implementation of the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) project on all its flights replacing the 20 kg traditional bag that contains evidences and paper documents related to aviation and air navigation systems as well as technical features of different aircraft.
SAUDIA has also launched a new Internet service allowing passengers traveling to 16 international destinations to surf the web on board its flights. Previously, the service was available only on flights to six international destinations. The move comes as part of the airline’s strategic efforts to improve customer services.
On the 2nd of May, 2015 SAUDIA became the world’s first airline to introduce a comprehensive flight guide in Braille for visually-impaired and blind passengers.
On the 6th of May, 2015 Saudi Airlines Cargo Company received a new Boeing 777 aircraft bringing the company’s fleet to 13 aircraft in order to further expand its global operations.
On the 13th of May, 2015 SAUDIA’s ALFURSAN program was awarded the World’s Best Frequent Traveler Program award in addition to two top prizes in the Freddie Awards that were distributed during a ceremony at the Delta Airline Museum in Atlanta, USA.
The program also won second place in the Best Loyalty Program Award in the Middle East and Australian subcontinent, and second place in the Best Redeem Program.
SAUDIA has recently launched the second phase of its smart phone service. Its iPhone app has a number of new features and specialties, including the facility to make bookings for international flights. The original app only allowed booking on domestic flights.
SAUDIA received a certificate of accelerating travel for passengers procedures (green level) from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
On May, 2015, SAUDIA launched SV2020 flight: Together Shaping Our Future, to take the national flag carrier to new heights of progress and prosperity, based on the five – year strategic plan, SAUDIA has signed a deal to acquire 50 state-of-the-art Airbus aircraft including (20) (A330-300s) Regional planes and (30) (A320s), also SAUDIA addressed its passengers as guests in all its communication channels.
On the 24th of May, SAUDIA signed an agreement with the Ministry of Education to send 5000 students on foreign scholarship program during the next five years to specialize in aviation and aircraft maintenance.
On May, 28, SAUDIA launched its new service “Chef on Board” on flights from Jeddah to Las Angeles flights as a first vase. Chefs are available in the First Class cabin.
On the sixth of August, 2015, SAUDIA launched the new Al-Fursan Lounge in Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz international Airport in Madinah.
In the same month, SAUDIA introduces new self-ticketing in more locations.
Starting the 4th of September, Saudi Airlines Cargo Company launched its flights from King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah to JFK International Airport in New York with B747-400F flight weekly.
On November, 2015, SAUDIA was named the most improved airline in social media during the Simpliflying Awards for Excellence in Social Media held in Las Vegas. SAUDIA was also highly commended along with three other airlines in the Middle East using social media.
In the same month SAUDIA received 189 new wheelchairs as the first patch of the special and high quality wheelchairs for SAUDIA guests with special needs.
In the 30th of November, 2015, SAUDIA and IATA have signed on the sidelines of the AACO AGM meeting in Jeddah an agreement to provide SAUDIA access to Direct Data Solutions program (DDS).
In December 2015, SAUDIA has launched Pre-Paid Excess Baggage service on its official website: www.saudia.com.
The new service will allow Saudia guests to purchase pre-paid excess baggage online and will enhance their experience during the Airport check-In process and will have a major contribution in the ancillary revenues.
The new service is part of the Ancillary revenue initiatives in Saudia Transformation program 2020. In the same month, SAUDIA received the “Fast Travel” certification by IATA.
In 15 December, 2015, SAUDIA inaugurated its new Inflight Service Academy Building and celebrated the graduation of 33 flight attendants who successfully completed the 10 week intensive training program on A320, A330 and B777.
The program included specialized courses in aviation safety at Prince Sultan Aviation Academy as well.
In 21 December, 2015, SAUDIA introduced a new transparent time-based price plans to its inflight internet connectivity enabling guests to have a clearer understanding of how long the purchased plan can be used. The new plans are replacing the older pay-per-megabyte plan.
In addition, the company is streamlining the log-on procedure, making the process to get connected faster and easier for passengers from any device.
There are four straightforward price plans, so passengers have a clear choice. They start with a 15 minute plan to allow you to quickly update your friends and family on social media, or post a selfie. In the other end, the “All Day Pass” allows those business users who may be flying in and out on the same day, or connecting passengers, to make use of a single purchase for a whole 24 hour period.
In the 25th of December, SAUDIA announced the launch of its new internet domain HYPERLINK “http://www.SAUDIA.com, which matches the company’s trademark and is shorter than the old domain by 6 digits.
In the 28th of December, SAUDIA introduced to frequent flying businessmen and VIPs a new service called AL-BAYRAQ, that allow them to book from regular and scheduled flights between Jeddah and Riyadh operated by SAUDIA PRIVATE AVIATION.
In a new step towards improving the travel experience, SAUDIA quests can now save the boarding pass in their Apple Watch and check in at the gate by simply placing their wrists under the barcode reader.
In order to provide more options for its guests to enhance its competitive position on the international sector, SAUDIA adds four new international destinations during 2016 including the Maldives, Munich, Ankara and Algiers.
On the 7th of January 2016, Saudia opened its Check-In and Baggage Drop-Off Hall in Riyadh (located in the Saudia club, Al-Rawabi district, near the eastern beltway between Exits 14 and 15).
As of 27th January 2016, (65) pilots have been qualified on the B787-9 Dreamliner.
As of 30th of January 2016, Saudia has enhanced and increased domestic flights with more than (1,680,000) seats.
As of 31st January 2016, (282) flight attendants have been qualified on the B787-9 Dreamliner.
On 1st February 2016, Saudia opened its head office in Los Angeles.
On 2nd February 2016, Saudia took the delivery of its third B777-300ER and another (2) B787-9 Dreamliners.
On the 16th of February 2016, Saudia was recognised by Global Traveller Magazine for its steady, consistent, and non-stop service for 35 years.
On the 3rd of March 2016, the Riyadh unit of the Saudi Airlines Catering Company was recognised by Korean Airlines for providing the best catering service for long-haul flights.
On the 14th of March 2016, Saudia celebrated the graduation of (49) scholarship students and the 7th class of graduates of Saudia’s “Future Pioneers” program.
On the 17th of March 2016, Saudia emerged eighth among the top 260 carriers in the world by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in a rating based on rapid travel procedures, which involve developing self-service automated systems at airports and easing regulations to save travellers' time and effort.
On the 21st of March 2016, Saudia was recognised by Charles de Gaulle Airport as the best airline for facilitating check-in and travel procedures.
On the 23rd of March 2016, the Dammam unit of the Saudi Airlines Catering Company won the QSAI award for the sixth time for the best in-flight caterer time, beating 220 other catering companies from 85 countries across the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
On 29th March 2016, Saudi Cargo announced the expansion of its operations to include Munich, Ankara, and the Maldives by using the belly-hold capacity on board Saudia passenger aircraft B777, A330, and A320.
On the 30th of March 2016, Saudia launched its direct flights to the Maldives, the first of its international destinations for 2016, which will also include Munich, Ankara and Algeria.
On the 11th of April 2016, Saudia won the International Air Transport Association’s Fast Travel Program award.
On the 12th of April 2016, Saudi Airlines Catering and Qaderoon Network signed an agreement that reinforces Saudia’s leading role towards the inclusion of persons with disabilities by employing them.
On the 17th of April 2016, Saudia launched a low-cost airline called Flyadeal to serve Saudi Arabian cities and key regional destinations starting in mid-2017.
On the 22nd of April 2016, the first all-new B787-9 Dreamliner arrived at King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah.
On 5th May 2016, Saudia was awarded the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) Ground Operations Manual Certificate (IGOM), which certifies that the airline is in full compliance with international ground safety and operations standards.
On the 8th of May 2016, Saudia won the CIO 100 Award by the International Data Group (IDG) to honour the top 100 C-level IT talent from across the world.
On the 11th of May 2016, Saudia launched innovative mobile apps to manage institutional resources.
On the 12th of May 2016, Saudia launched reservation and sales services for ALBAYRAQ through the Saudia official website (saudia.com), SPA official website (spa.sa), smartphone apps, or by contacting sales offices on the unified number (920022222).
As of the 23rd of May 2016, Saudia has achieved another significant operational milestone in the aviation world by equipping its fleet with the latest digital flight deck solution (i.e.,electronic flight bag “EFB”). This paperless flight deck revolution will replace the traditional one. The new B787-9 Dreamliner is the first aircraft in the whole region to be equipped with an electronic flight deck. working through local servers and with no papers at all.
On the 29th of May 2016, Saudia became the official carrier of the national soccer team for 4 years.
As of the 1st of June 2016, Saudia Private Aviation (SPA) operates ALBAYRAQ flights between Riyadh and Jeddah.
On the 6th of June 2016, Saudia appointed JADWA Investment as a financial consultancy firm to take charge of privatising Saudia Medical Services (known as MEDICAL).
On the 16th of June 2016, Saudia unveiled its all-new luxurious first-class B777-300ER suite.
On the 4th of July 2016, Saudia began operating its two-way direct flights to and from Munich, Germany. To accommodate the increased demand for Riyadh-Munich flights, the wide-body A330 has been dedicated to serve in this route.
On the 10th of July 2016, Al-Bayraq’s plane took the national football team to its camp in Salzburg, Austria.
On the 13th of July 2016, Saudia expanded working hours in its head office in Abha to 12 hours daily.
On the 26th of July 2016, Saudia launched a new application for Android devices, which provides many services such as searching and booking flights, buying tickets, and downloading boarding passes.
On the 2nd of August 2016, the Prince Sultan Aviation Academy (PSAA) set a new record regarding the number of trainees and training hours in the integrated training programmes. The first half of 2016 saw a record increase in the number of trainees, which reached up to 11,000 trainees from all sectors in the SAUDIA and the other domestic and international companies. Moreover, the total number of training hours has been increased to 27,216 hours and 15,154 hours for aircraft simulator training.
On the 8th of August 2016, Saudia participated in the sponsorship of the Saudi Super Cup at Fulham's Craven Cottage stadium in London.
On the 18th of August 2016, Saudia became the launch operator of A330-300 Regional, which ushered in a new era of luxurious domestic flights. As part of Saudia’s ambitious transformational plan and Strategic Vision 2020 (SV2020) to nearly double its fleet to 200 aircraft by 2020, the arrival of its first A330-300 Regional plane is an initial step in its unprecedented achievement to receive another 20 A330-300 Regional planes and 30 A320s.
On the 22nd of August 2016, Terminal 5 of King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh became fully operational. The terminal becomes fully operational with (SV1052) from JEDDAH being the first flight to arrive at the new terminal and (SV1677) to ABHA being the first departing flight at 06:20.
On the 29th of August 2016, Prince Faisal bin Salman, Governor of Madinah, inaugurated the new Saudia building in Madinah.
On the 11th of September 2016, Saudia announced the success of its pilgrimage plan to handle (401,173) pilgrims, including: (14,717) pilgrims from the Kingdom and (386,456) from outside the Kingdom.
On the Kingdom’s National Day, Saudia launched an affectionate initiative by sharing congratulations cards among passengers and citizens to express their support and send their prayers to the heroes of the Saudi armed forces, who protect our beloved Kingdom and are ready to sacrifice their souls for the sake of the homeland.
On 17th September 2016, Saudia achieved a new record by launching 655 flights in one day and smoothly operating 1,226 domestic, international, and irregular flights.
On 23rd September 2016, Saudia acquired 63 new additional aircraft as part of its fleet expansion and modernisation plan. The new aircraft are 15 Boeing 777-300ER, 13 Boeing 787, and 35 Airbus A320/A321neo.
Sep 23, 2016 Saudia acquires 113 all-new aircraft, 15 of them are B777-300ER, 13 B787 Dreamliner, and 35 A320/A321-neo, as well as 50 A330R and A320.
Oct 3, 2016 Saudia launches innovative mobile application for managing institutional resources to enhance services and operational efficiency.
Oct 8, 2016 Saudia launches its ultra-luxurous ALFURSAN lounge in Terminal 5 at King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh.
Oct 18, 2016 Saudia adopts and circulates the first edition of the Business Ethics and Conflict of Interests Code.
Oct 26, 2016 Saudia launches “Service Excellence” programme, which is designed to enhance the total guests’ experience across its global operations.
Oct 31, 2016 Saudia signs a strategic agreement with the Saudi Technology Development and Investment Company (TAQNIA) to provide internet services, voice calling and live television broadcast onboard Saudia aircraft. The implementation of the new inflight connectivity services will start by mid of 2017, and the project will be completed by the end of 2019.
Nov 1, 2016 Saudia conducts “Executives’ Field Tour” programme, series of scheduled tours covering a specific number of stations monthly, to monitor performance closely, enhance service level, and to ensure safety procedures are followed.
Nov 9, 2016 Saudia receives its first B777-300ER supplied with the all-new and luxurious first class suites from the manufacturer's site, in Seattle. The aircraft is the first of an order of 10 similar aircraft.
Nov 18, 2016 Saudia operates direct flights to a new international destination: Ankara. (7) Two-way flights between Jeddah/Madinah and Ankara are operated weekly: (4) Jeddah/Ankara, and (3) Madinah-Ankara.
Nov 20, 2016 Saudia launches its direct flights to Algiers. (4) Scheduled flights are operated weekly to and from Algiers, two of them are operated from King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah (on Sunday and Friday), and the other two from Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz International Airport, Madinah (on Monday, and Wednesday).
Dec 1, 2016 Saudia operates its ultra-sophisticated A330-300R on domestic routes: Riyadh/Taif and Jeddah/Qassim.
Dec 16, 2016 Saudia launches (4) direct flights between Jazan and Qaisouma.
Dec, 2016 Saudia launched 4-weekly direct flights between Madinah and Makassar in Indonesia (the flights are operated on Saturday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday). Moreover, Saudia also launched its freight service to Surabaya and Medan.
Dec 13, 2016 Saudia takes delivery of its first A320ceo which consists of 144 seats, 12 of them are in business class and 132 in the economy.
Dec 15, 2016 Saudia receives the applications of the 2nd batch of the Scholarship Program of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The program, under the title “Your Scholarship is Your Job”, enables high school graduates, B.A, and M.A. holders to study aviation and aircraft maintenance.
Dec 19, 2016 Saudia retires the last aircraft of its Embraer Fleet, in addition to another (26) various aircraft which have been phased out during 2016.
Dec 21, 2016 Saudia shifts its operations to terminal 2 in Cairo Airports. SV301 was the first flight arriving to the new terminal on Wednesday 21st of December 2016 at 10:50am, and SV300 departed to Jeddah at 12:30pm.
Dec 25, 2016 Saudia launches two creative initiatives related to its loyal frequent flyers program, Alfursan, include: issuing Virtual Alfursan Member Cards, and updating Saudia smart app.
Jan 11, 2017 Saudia wins Sterling Fun award for the best kids travel packs provided by the Canadian Tillywig which is specialized for evaluating superior children's products.
Jan 17, 2017 Prince Sultan Aviation Academy (PSAA) acquires GACA’s air dispatching license (143), thus becoming accredited for training and rehabilitation air dispatchers.
Feb 13, 2017 Saudia launches the first International ALFURSAN Lounge in Cairo international Airport, the first lounge of its kind outside the Kingdom.
Feb 27, 2017 Saudia launches ‘Welcome Lounge’ in Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz International Airport, Madinah. The lounge, owned by Saudi Arabian Airlines Catering (SAAC), is the first of its kind in the domestic terminals in the airports of the Kingdom.
Mar 8, 2017 Saudia Medical Services (SMS), the healthcare provider of Saudi Arabian Airlines and its affiliated entities, obtains a license from the Ministry of Health to operate as a private healthcare services provider.
Mar 19, 2017 Saudia celebrates the graduation of 113 trainees of both the second class of aviation scholarship, and the eighth class of Future Pioneers program.
Mar 23, 2017 Saudia launches a special service office in Erfan and Bagado General Hospital (EBGH) to facilitate medical procedures to both the current and retired staff of Saudia.
Mar 28, 2017 Saudia provides extra free services for its guests travelling to US and UK. The new services include receiving the electronic devices (laptops, IPads, and large-size smart phones) at departure gates, covering them, and returning them back to the guests upon arriving to their destinations. Thus, the guests can make use of their personal devices as far as possible while they are waiting for boarding at the departure lounge and before getting on their flights. Moreover, they can use their devices during their waiting time in transit travel. The airline’s ground handling staff at King Abdulaziz International Airport and King Khalid International Airport will receive the devices at time of boarding and will keep them in separate boxes for each passenger, and those boxes will be kept in the cargo section of the plane to be delivered to the guests at the baggage reclaim area.
Apr 1, 2017 Saudia launches (8) direct flights to a new international destination: Multan, Pakistan.
Apr 6, 2016 Saudia launches (6) direct flights to a new international destination: Port Sudan (Sudan).
Apr 24, 2017 Saudia updates its app on both (Google Play) and (App Store). The updated app features a convenient and plain interface to facilitate flights searching and booking at a glance.
Apr 24, 2017 Saudia launches the official website of “Saudia Holidays” (www.holidaysbysaudia.com) to builds rapport and enhance the relationship with guests and support the Kingdom Vision 2030.
April, 2017 Saudia hits the highest record in its history, flying (2,906,070) guests in a single month.
April, 2017 Saudia allows its guests of economy class to enjoy the ultra-luxurious services of “ALFURSAN Lounges” in the four main airports for fees, while continuing providing the same service for the premier members – Silver, Gold, and Elite Plus members- for free.
May 2, 2017 Saudia launches special check-in counters for elderly and disabled guests, managed by a highly trained staff to provide best service ever to its valued guests.
May 3, 2017 Saudia and China Southern Airlines sign new codeshare agreement.
May 14, 2017 Prince Sultan aviation Academy (PSAA) acquires (2) ALSIM ALX simulators to be used for all phases of flight training from PPL to ATPL and MCC.
May 19, 2017 Saudia, the official carrier and sponsor of Saudi soccer team, honored to present a souvenir to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abudlaziz – may God bless him. The souvenir is a statue of both Douglas DC3, the aircraft gifted to King Abdulaziz _may God bless his soul_ by the American President, Franklin Roosevelt, and another one of the ultra-sophisticated B777-300ER stamped with “holding the national flag to glory and supremacy”.
April 9th – The 21st of 30 new Airbus A320s purchased in a 2015 deal joins SAUDIA’s fleet.
April 19th – The Boeing B787 Dreamliner joins SAUDIA’s fleet, bringing with it four million seats and 57,000 hours flown across 13,000 flights, the first of which soared out of King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and into King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh.
April 21st – SAUDIA launches its biggest summer operations yet with 11 million seats on 55,000 flights during the three-month peak season between June 8th and September 9th.
May 1st – For the first time ever, SAUDIA dedicates a jetliner to the globetrotting Saudi football team, which wore the distinctive national green livery with pride in the run up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
May 5th – SAUDIA starts a free WhatsApp customer service account for all domestic travelers and those on select international flights, a first in the Middle East and North Africa. The service number is +966540000005.
May 9th – SAUDIA’s first direct flight to Izmir, Turkey signals more destination choices for international travelers.
May 29th – SAUDIA is the first airline to serve travelers across arrivals and departures at Terminal 1 as the soft opening of the new King Abdulaziz Airport is underway, with Al Qurayyat being the very first destination.
June 3rd – SAUDIA makes its free WhatsApp service available to all domestic and international travelers.
June 7th – SAUDIA takes delivery of the 22nd and 23rd of 30 brand-new Airbus A320s as part of a 50-aircraft deal that also includes 20 medium-range, wide-body A330-300s, bringing its fleet up to 150.
June 17th – Flight SV151, SAUDIA’s first direct flight to Vienna, departs King Abdulaziz International Airport to the Austrian capital via King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh.
July 12th – SAUDIA achieves another milestone with record numbers of guests and flights during the first half of 2018. Nearly 17 million guests boarded more than 106,000 flights to domestic and international destinations, clocking 246,000 hours of flight time – a growth of 8% in guests and 4% in flights compared to H1 2017.
August 6th – As of mid-August, SAUDIA and Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines – both members of the SkyTeam Alliance – expand their original codeshare agreement, which started in 2007 on flights between Beirut and Dammam.
August 13th – SAUDIA wins the Most Improved Airline Award for brand recognition and the Kingdom’s top airline in quality and customer confidence, according to the London-based marketing research firm YouGov.
August 15th – SAUDIA launches its Bistro by SAUDIA service, a new, modern concept of in-flight cuisine for Guest Class travelers, together with plans to roll out a new Business and First Class dining service.
August 27th – SAUDIA’s operational performance in July jumps staggeringly with 3.13 million guests flown on 18,616 domestic and international flights, an increase of 6% and 9%, respectively, compared to the same month during the previous two years. July 2018’s daily average clocked around 100,000 guests on 600 flights, bringing the six-month count up to 20 million guests on 124,716 flights.
September 2nd – SAUDIA signs a codeshare deal with fellow SkyTeam member Garuda, Indonesia’s flag carrier, giving its guests plenty more destination choices with direct ticket sales through both airlines.
September 5th – SAUDIA Private Aviation, SAUDIA’s business and VIP charter investment arm, gains its GACARS 151 certification, a nationwide regulatory standard for ground services.
September 16th – Texting through iMessage and Facebook Messenger is now free on internet-equipped SAUDIA aircraft, along with the free WhatsApp service.
September 25th – SAUDIA is named official carrier of the Formula E World Championship.
October 1st – SAUDIA starts direct, regular flights to Erbil, its second Iraqi destination after Baghdad.
October 3rd – The last of 30 brand-new narrow-body Airbus A320s, an A320ceo, arrives directly from Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France into King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, completing the order in a record 21 months.
October 5th – SAUDIA hits another operational milestone for the month of August with 3.26 million guests flown on more than 19,000 flights, bringing the year’s count through August up to 23.3 million passengers on 144,400 flights.
October 9th – SAUDIA adds more flights and seats to its Los Angeles, Singapore, and Abu Dhabi routes to make maximum use of its new planes, which had brought its total fleet up to 150 aircraft of various types and sizes to cope with the increasing year-round and seasonal peak demand.
October 22nd – SAUDIA and the UAE’s flag-carrier Etihad Airways announce a codeshare deal, offering travelers over 40 more domestic and international destinations for business and entertainment.
November 1st – SAUDIA’s first of four weekly scheduled flights to Surabaya and Medan, Indonesia takes to the air out of Jeddah on a 450-seat Boeing 747.
November 7th – SAUDIA is awarded the Best Hajj Airline Carrier and Partner Appreciation Award from the Council of British Hajjis (CBUK) for 2018.
November 10th – SAUDIA puts in service the first Airbus A320 with cutting-edge satellite communications, featuring broadband internet, telephony, and live TV, along with new seats and infotainment displays for Guest and Business classes.
November 19th – SAUDIA named Best Improved Asia Pacific Carrier and Flyadeal wins Best Emerging Carrier Award at a ceremony in Singapore by the Sidney-based CAPA Aviation, an international center for aviation data.
Dec. 5th – SAUDIA resumes direct regular flights to Calcutta after a three-year hiatus due to the renovation of the Indian city’s airport.
Dec. 23rd – Travelers with the Gold and Silver categories of SAUDIA’s Alfursan frequent flyer loyalty program now get free internet access on all domestic and international flights.
Dec. 26th – SAUDIA continues its impressive international performance throughout October and November, with more guests than ever keeping its operations busier than the global industry average.
January 8th – SAUDIA offers its Bistro service to Guest class passengers on the Madrid route as part of its TOP5 program, which aims to put the Kingdom’s flag-carrier among the top five airlines in the world.
January 25th – SAUDIA continues to break new records, carrying 17 million international passengers among a total of 34 million passengers during 2018 on more than 214,000 domestic and international flights. The SAUDIA fleet of 154 aircraft clocked 500,000 flight hours.
February 2nd – The third Airbus A320 with satellite telecommunications joins SAUDIA’s fleet after being refitted with a completely new interior and equipped with broadband internet, telephony, and live TV. The revamped airliner, with registration HZASC, took to the air on this day out of King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah en route to Frankfurt, Germany.
February 14th – SAUDIA wins HMG Aerospace’s award for its onboard services, including free Wi-Fi and messaging app connectivity – all firsts in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.
February 17th – SAUDIA gains IATA 753 certification for being the Kingdom’s first airline to implement luggage tracking, along with improved luggage management systems and more efficient baggage handling.
March 13th – In addition to WhatsApp, iMessage, and Facebook Messenger, guests on all of SAUDIA’s domestic and international flights can now use WeChat and Instagram’s text messaging service for free.
March 14th – During the first Saudi International Airshow, SAUDIA announces advanced satellite telecommunications on its aircraft with 50Mbps internet connectivity, telephony, 3.5G mobile data, eight live TV channels, and many more new onboard services and popular entertainment content options.
April 4th – SAUDIA transfers Bisha, Hail, Rafha, Al-Jouf, and Wadi Al Dawasir routes to Terminal 1 at the new King Abdulaziz International Airport, raising the domestic destinations served at the airport to 19. The routes were moved out of the old airport according to a carefully set plan in order to minimize disruption.
April 5th – SAUDIA wins two more awards for best onboard entertainment connectivity and best travel kit for First-class passengers, presented by PAX International magazine, a leading global airline services publication.
April 16 – Membership in SAUDIA’s Alfursan frequent flyer loyalty program crosses the six million mark, growing 13% year-on-year thanks to great incentives and rewards and offers by 35 partners, together with services seamlessly presented by other SkyTeam members.
May 1st – SAUDIA’s booth at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai is a smash hit with patrons and exhibitors alike thanks to the distinctive style and impressive content.
May 5th – SAUDIA’s biggest operations to date shift 16.8 million seats aboard 77,000 flights in just the first four months of 2019. This leads to forecasts of the airline’s busiest summer ever as the school summer holidays coincide with the Umrah season, Ramadan, Eid Alfitr, the Hajj season and Eid Eladha. In addition, three new international destinations are added – Athens and Marrakesh are served by regular flights, and Malacca with seasonal flights.
May 14th – International travelers exceed domestic ones for the first time in SAUDIA’s history thanks to the runaway growth in transit flights through the Kingdom and the airline’s own transformation program, which saw it broaden its international reach and investments across four continents.
May 27th – SAUDIA and the Saudi Railway Company (SAR) sign a strategic agreement to integrate SAUDIA’s international travel services with SAR’s domestic services, complete with seamless online booking, smartphone apps, self-service terminals, and luggage transfer between airports and train stations.
May 30th – Guests can now access and browse numerous digital news outlets on their smartphones free of charge on board SAUDIA’s flights, with languages available including Arabic, English, Urdu, and Malayalam; further media outlets would be added on a regularly basis.
June 5th – SAUDIA’s first regular, direct flight to Athens takes off from Riyadh, with four one-way flights scheduled to and from the Greek capital every week on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, as well as a Jeddah-Athens route to be added later.
June 6th – Less than 24 hours after the first direct flight to Athens, SAUDIA opens up the throttles to Marrakesh, its second destination in the Kingdom of Morocco, with the announcement of three weekly one-way flights out of Jeddah.
June 16th – SAUDIA starts giving out its new culturally inspired personal care kits to medium and long-distance Guest-class travelers, including a bag full of personal items such as a pair of socks, a sleep mask, ear plugs, a tooth brush, and tooth paste.
June 18th – SAUDIA doubles down on its initial 35-aircraft order with a supplementary deal with Airbus for 30 more A320neos, as well as options for 35 additional neos or A321s.
June 30th – SAUDIA inaugurates its latest regular domestic destination, NEOM Bay Airport, the Kingdom’s 28th and newest airport with IATA code NUM.
July 1st – Prince Sultan Academy and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) agree to a regional partnership on training courses and curricula with the Saudi Arabian Airlines Group in Jeddah.
July 3rd – SAUDIA wins yet another international recognition for upgrading its IATA-sanctioned NDC systems, streamlining ticket sales for agents, and providing world-class aftersales services to customers.
August 2nd – A SAUDIA flight out of Jeddah touches down at Abha International Airport to mark a strategic partnership with AlSoudah Season, complete with a water arch reception.
August 5th – SAUDIA now offers its Bistro service on the Dubai, Cairo and Beirut routes, increasing the number of international routes that enjoy the gourmet service to 16, with plans to spread the service to all international flights by the end of the year.
August 21st – SAUDIA closes applications for the 13th cohort of its Future Pioneers program, which prepares BA and MA students to become leaders. Those who qualify will enter into a two-year intensive training program both domestically and abroad.
September 3rd – SAUDIA adds more self-service terminals and new online services including ticket reissues, seat selection, ride booking, and onboard Wi-Fi access.
September 15th – SAUDIA partners with the Ministry of Labor and Social Development and Yasser E-government Program to make all of the airline’s services available online to those with special needs, sparing them the trouble of visiting a sales office and eliminating the need to waste time filling out a form and having a sales officer review and verify the information.
September 26th – SAUDIA Private Aviation, SAUDIA’s business and VIP charter investment arm, gains private aviation baggage handling certification after having met the standards set by the International Business Aviation Council.
October 15th – SAUDIA sponsors the first ever Leonardo DaVinci exhibit in Jeddah, a cultural collaboration between the Kingdom and Italy that showcased the great artist’s ideas for flying machines.
October 22nd – SAUDIA and the UAE’s Etihad Airways broaden their codeshare deal from a year earlier, giving guests of both airlines even more flight and destination choices and the two airlines the opportunity to expand to new international destinations.
October 30th – SAUDIA’s second Boeing B787-10 Dreamliner lands in Jeddah to join the fleet after a 13-hour flight from Charleston, South Carolina, piloted by crewmembers Ali Al-Shihri, Khalid Bukhari, Hazem Al-Biladi, and Mohammed Saleh.
November 10th – SAUDIA wins its 4th CBUK Best Hajj Carrier and the Partner Recognition Award at World Travel Market London.
November 14th – SAUDIA’s Medical Services are now privatized after a deal with Fakeeh Care, which was overseen by the National Center for Privatization.
November 21st – SAUDIA strikes two deals with Boeing and Honeywell on flight planning and auxiliary energy at the Dubai Airshow.
December 19 – SAUDIA kicks off its strategic sponsorship of the Winter at Tantora festival with the first flight to Al Ula.
December 25th – SAUDIA’s third of eight Boeing B787-10 Dreamliners arrives at King Abdulaziz International Airport from Charleston, South Carolina.