Saudi Arabian Airlines commenced operations in 1945. At that time, it had only a single twin-engine Douglas DC-3 aircraft, given by President Franklin D Roosevelt to King Abdul Aziz as a gesture of friendship. After a few months, a purchase was made for two more such airplanes, laying the foundation for the majestic operations the airline runs today as one of the world’s leading operators. It has received numerous awards and accolades over the years. In 2004, the airline received the prestigious Silver MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Travel Award grabbing the title of Best ME & NA Airlines. In 2000, it received various awards in recognition of its in-flight services for passengers with special needs, like the award by International Flight Catering Association (IFCA) and International In-Flight Food Service Association (IFSA).
Saudi Airlines’ fleet comprises 139 aircraft, including the most modern and advanced wide-bodied jets like the Boeing 747-468, Boeing 747-300s, Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-268, Airbus A320-200, Airbus A330-300, Airbus A300-600, MD-11s and MD90s. It currently operates 117 aircraft, including the Embraer 170, as well as other Boeing and Airbus flights.
The primary hubs are located in Jeddah, Madinah, Riyadh and Damman, in Saudi Arabia, from where Saudi Airlines flies to various destinations around the world. It mainly covers destinations in the Middle East, Turkey, Iran, India and Pakistan. Apart from this, direct connectivity is also provided to North African countries and many cities in Europe. A few destinations in Far East Asia and North America are also covered.
Ground support and services
SAUDIA GS (Saudi Arabian Airlines Ground Services) has been rendering a host of ground handling operations since 1988. Such services have been provided for Saudi Airlines and other local and foreign carriers; as well as for VIP and Royal flights. This professional group handles approximately 150,000 flights in over 26 airports around the world, on an annual basis. These includes company representation, passenger terminal services, station managing, cabin and baggage services, fleet and water services, ground and runway support, aircraft marshalling, ramp operations, catering and fuel coordination, and shipment escorting, to name a few.
Classes of travel
Saudi Airlines offers its passengers the option of choosing between three classes in most of its flights. First Class and Business Class comprise the privileged classes, followed by the standard Guest Class. Privileged travelers are offered various perks, including priority check-in and boarding, deplaning and baggage handling assistance.
The internationally acclaimed Saudia Catering serves hot meals depending on the region and route of the flight, so that passengers can have the comfort of enjoying their native cuisine. Premium classes are offered Iranian Sevruga caviar, assorted cold meats and main courses on demand, like stuffed chicken and frilled beef fillets to name a few. Apart from this, an extensive array of beverages is also offered on board.
Personal TV screens are available on most flights, with a wide selection of audio, movies, TV shows, religious recitals, children’s programs and much more. Passengers can also order from the in-flight mall, Skysales, that offers a mix of souvenirs, designer fragrances and more.