Saudi airline to avoid Syria and “Arab Spring” countries
Saudi Arabian Airlines announced on Sunday that it would reduce its flights to Syria and other Arab Spring countries and divert those flights to popular destinations in order to avoid losses and meet passenger needs.
Abdullah Al-Ajhar, vice president of public relations, said: “The present situation in the Middle East region will not affect Saudia and we have taken all these circumstances into consideration. We have diverted some flights from the region to other destinations to avoid losses,” he said.
Al-Ajhar emphasized the airline’s plan to boost services to domestic and international destinations while dismissing suggestions to operate domestic flights in other Gulf countries.
Speaking about the airline’s SR11 billion debt to the General Authority of Civil Aviation, he said: “We have given top priority to tackling the organization’s debts. A special committee has been set up to look into the matter.”
Al-Ajhar said Saudia’s privatization would take five years. “We have already privatized Catering, Cargo, Ground Services and Saudia Aerospace Engineering Company. Privatization of the airline is a big project and will take about five years,” he explained.
He highlighted Saudia’s efforts to modernize its domestic and international fleet by purchasing state-of-the-art aircraft from Airbus and Boeing. “We have so far received 68 of 90 new aircraft ordered from Airbus and Boeing.
Saudia will receive a new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, which has advanced facilities, on Monday. It will arrive at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and will be received by top Saudia and GACA officials. “Boeing 777-300ER is considered one of the best aircraft available in the world,” Al-Ajhar said.