The national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, SAUDIA has collaborated with the Saudi Air Connectivity Program (ACP) and Saudi Tourism Authority, to launch four new international destinations: Beijing (PRC), Birmingham (UK), Kano (Nigeria), and Johannesburg (South Africa).
Representing a significant expansion program for 2023, the route development follows the national carrier’s signing of an agreement with ACP, and is in line with the program's objective of enhancing the Kingdom's point-to-point air connectivity and its reach to target international markets.
By collaborating with airlines to expand their operations in Saudi Arabia, ACP seeks to promote growth and development within the tourism and aviation sectors, working to strengthen the Kingdom’s position as a leading destination for international travel.
"The opening of four new air routes across three different regions is the result of strong collaboration between the Saudi tourism and aviation ecosystems," said Ali Rajab, CEO of ACP. "We are proud to have been part of these efforts. These new routes offer a diverse mix of travel opportunities in the Kingdom, unlocking its rich cultural heritage and inviting travelers from around the world to experience the beauty and diversity of this remarkable destination.
“Air connectivity will play an increasingly important role in enabling tourism growth and creating new opportunities for businesses and tourists alike. We look forward to building on this momentum to unlock new destinations, and create a brighter future for the Kingdom,” Ali Rajab added.
Capt. Ibrahim Koshy, CEO of SAUDIA, highlighted the airline's ongoing commitment to investing in operational expansion. “We are dedicated to continue optimizing our modern fleet to meet current and future expansion requirements,” he said. "In addition to the recent launch of the new service “Your Ticket, Your Visa” which is the first of its kind in the world has increased airline's competitive position with a market share of 40% for flights and seat capacity in the past year.”
Koshy also emphasized the importance of initiatives aimed at increasing SAUDIA's international market share, simplifying and facilitating travel procedures, and enhancing the travel experience for guests. In addition to increasing the Kingdom’s air connectivity, these initiatives also help grow the country’s budding tourism industry while improving its existing Hajj and Umrah-related travel networks.
Saudi’s tourism ecosystem has an ambitious target of reaching 100m visits annually by 2030, with air connectivity being a central part of achieving this goal. Saudi Tourism Authority's strategy focuses on understanding consumer demand and identifying key source markets. These new direct flight routes have been launched as a response to the uptick in consumer demand from travelers looking to visit or transit through Saudi from Beijing, Birmingham, Kano, and Johannesburg.
Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO and Member of the Board of Saudi Tourism Authority added that “Today’s announcement of four new routes demonstrates the power of the tourism ecosystem to work with airline partners to bring new capacity online. Through cross-government collaboration, we are continuing to build ease and connectivity to transform Saudi into a top tourism destination and meet our ambitious target to welcome 100m visits by 2030. This is significant as direct flight options are not only good news for international travelers but also create growth, opportunity, and investment in Saudi and across the world.”
MATARAT CEO, Eng.Mohammed Al Maghlouth, noted: “At MATARAT we are working with our ecosystem partners and airlines to enhance the airport experience for both air carriers and passengers in Saudi Arabia. Our focus is on delivering world-class services that meet the highest international standards, thus improving the travel experience for everyone. Al Maghlouth also stated that the inauguration marks a significant milestone in our efforts, as several airlines have announced plans to introduce direct flights from Saudi airports to new international destinations. This strategic initiative is aligned with the National Aviation Strategy's goals, a critical component of the National Transport and Logistics Strategy, which aims to achieve the objectives outlined in Saudi Vision 2030 by adding 250 new international destinations and increasing passenger capacity to 330 million.”