Saudi Arabian Airlines

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Saudi Arabian Airlines
الخطوط الجوية العربية السعودية
Saudia logo
Saudia's Boeing 777-200ER
IATA code : SV
ICAO code : SVA
Call sign : SAUDIA
Founding: 1945
Seat: Jeddah , Saudi Arabia
Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia 
Turnstile :
Home airport : Jeddah
IATA prefix code : 065
Management: Jaan Albrecht
Number of employees: about 10,000
Alliance : SkyTeam
Frequent Flyer Program : Alfursan
Fleet size: 165
Aims: National and international

Saudi Arabian Airlines (الخطوط الجوية العربية السعودية, DMG al-ḫuṭūṭ al-ǧawwiyya al-ʿarabiyya as-saʿūdiyya ), from April 1972 to July 1996 only Saudia ( Arabic سعودية), is a Saudi Arabian airline based in Jeddah and has its home base at Jeddah Airport and other bases in Dammam and Riyadh . It is one of the largest airlines in the Middle East and a member of the Arab Air Carriers Organization and the SkyTeam airline alliance . Both names are used these days with Saudia being used as a marketing name .


Foundation and first years

A Convair CV-340 from Saudia (1959)

Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation was founded in 1945. On March 14, 1947, flight operations with the Douglas DC-3 began and the route network grew in the following years; Cairo , Beirut and Damascus were added as destinations. The airline received technical and logistical support from the US airline Trans World Airlines .

In 1949 the first five Bristol 170 Freighters were added to the existing three Douglas DC-3s. With the Bristol 170 it was possible to transport both passengers and cargo during one flight.

During the 1950s, Saudi Arabian Airlines received five Douglas DC-4s and ten Convair CV-340s . In addition, the route network could be expanded to the cities of Istanbul , Karachi , Amman , Kuwait City , Asmara and Port Sudan . The important national route between Jeddah and Riyadh was also opened during this period.

The jet age

A Saudia Boeing 737-200 (1995)

In 1961, the airline bought the Boeing 720B, the first jet aircraft, which was first used for Saudi Arabian Airlines in April 1962. This made it the first airline in the Middle East to fly a jet plane. The DC-9 and Boeing 707 later added to the fleet. The route network was expanded to include Sharjah , Tehran , Khartoum , Dubai , Bombay (now Mumbai ), Tunis , Rabat , Tripoli and the European destinations Geneva , Frankfurt am Main and London .

At the beginning of the 1970s there were some changes at the airline . The name was changed to “Saudia” and a new look was introduced. In 1975, two Lockheed L-1011 TriStar were added to the fleet as the first wide-body aircraft. With these two, the company opened the Arabian Express between Riyadh and Jeddah. The connection between Riyadh and Dhahran was added. Shuttle traffic between the cities took place in shuttle operation. Passengers could board for departure without a reservation. Bookings were only accepted for first class. Otherwise the principle was: "First come, first fly".

This was followed by the Boeing 737 as a replacement for the DC-9 and the first Boeing 747 in June 1977 . The Fairchild F-27 also added to the fleet. New destinations were Rome , Paris , Muscat , Kano and Stockholm .

In the 1980s, Saudi Arabian Airlines continued its very cautious but very successful expansion and the route network grew. New York was added, among others , but also new destinations in Europe , Africa and Asia . The fleet was expanded to include Airbus A300-600, Fokker F28 and Cessna Citation .

Development since the 1990s

A Saudia Airbus A320-200 in SkyTeam livery

At the beginning of the 1990s, the company forced a fleet renewal. This promising and lucrative business led to great efforts by aircraft manufacturers in Europe and North America . In the end, Boeing won this competition . With the delivery of the McDonnell Douglas MD-90 and the cargo plane MD-11 F in 1997, a new look was also introduced and the name was changed back to Saudi Arabian Airlines . In addition, the Boeing 777 was introduced in early 1998 to replace the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar .

On December 11, 2007 a contract was signed for the purchase of 22 Airbus A320-200s and eight options for this type. Furthermore, ten more A320s each are to be leased from GECAS and GulfOne . Deliveries began in 2009, with the first aircraft ordered directly being delivered from 2012. From then on, they replaced the McDonnell Douglas MD-90 and A320 leased from other airlines.


On January 10, 2011, it was announced that Saudi Arabian Airlines would be the first Middle East airline to join the SkyTeam airline alliance in 2012. This joining took place a good year later on May 29, 2012.

Since May 2012, the company has been back to its previous name, Saudia, when it joined SkyTeam .

In June 2015, it was announced at the Paris Air Show that Saudia would be the first airline to order 20 aircraft of the new Airbus A330-300 Regional .

Saudia entered into a code-sharing agreement with Oman Air on August 1, 2016 outside of the SkyTeam alliance .

In November 2018, Saudia announced that 22 narrowbody aircraft (7 A320neo and 15 A321LR), which are mainly used on routes to Europe, will be equipped with full-flat seats in business class.

On-board service

For religious reasons, Saudia does not offer alcoholic beverages or pork on board. There is a prayer area on some of the larger planes.


As of June 2017, Saudia flies to destinations in the Middle and Far East as well as Africa, North America and Europe.

In German-speaking countries, Frankfurt am Main , Munich and Geneva will be served (seasonal), and from mid-June 2018 there will also be flights to Vienna from Jeddah and Riyadh .

The connections to Frankfurt am Main, Munich, Vienna and Geneva are, like most other European destinations, served in the winter months with aircraft of the Airbus A320 family . On the other hand, there are the summer months, when many people in the Arab countries go to the cooler European countries. Often machines such as the Airbus A330 or the Boeing 777 are then used to cope with the large number of passengers.


Current fleets


A Saudia Airbus A320-200
A Saudia Boeing 747-400

As of May 2020, the Saudia fleet - excluding the subsidiaries listed below - consists of 165 aircraft with an average age of 6.4 years:

Aircraft type number ordered Remarks Seats
( First / Business // Eco )
Airbus A320-200 46 116 (- / 20/96)
132 (- / 12/120)
144 (- / 12/132)
Airbus A321-200 15th 165 (- / 20/145)
Airbus A330-200 6th operated by Onur Air - open -
Airbus A330-300 32 288 (- / 36/252)
298 (- / 36/262)
330 (- / 30/300)
Boeing 747-400 5 operated by Air Atlanta Icelandic 465 (- / 16/449)
Boeing 747-400BDSF / ERF / F 3 Saudia Cargo cargo planes ;
operated by ACT Airlines ; one inactive
Boeing 747-8F 2 Saudia Cargo cargo planes ; one inactive
Boeing 777F 4th Cargo
Boeing 777-300ER 35 two equipped as VIP aircraft 290 (12/36/242)
305 (24/36/245)
381 (- / 30/351)
413 (- / 30/383 )


Boeing 787-9 13 298 (- / 24/274)
Boeing 787-10 4th
total 165 -

During the Hajj season, Saudia regularly rents large amounts of aircraft from other companies in order to be able to cope with the large number of pilgrims .

Saudi Arabian Government

The only McDonnell Douglas MD-11F of the Saudi Arabian Royal Flight

As of April 2020, the subsidiary Saudi Arabian Government is using six aircraft with an average age of 24.6 years for freight and travel flights of the royal family:

Aircraft type number ordered Remarks Age
Airbus A340-200 1 22.3 years
Boeing 747-300 1 36.3 years
Boeing 747-400 1 19.2 years
Boeing 747-SP 1 38.0 years
Boeing 757-200 1 Mobile hospital 26.2 years
Boeing 777-300 1 5.2 years
total 6th 24.6 years

Saudi Arabian Special Flight Services

As of August 2013, Saudia and its subsidiary Saudi Arabian Special Flight Services are using twelve aircraft for the government of Saudi Arabia. These also have the current appearance of the parent company.

Saudi Private Aviation

The Saudi Private Aviation fleet includes all other business travel and training aircraft that are not used by the government and the royal family of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Private Aviation's aircraft are not in the parent company's livery. As of April 2017, the fleet consisted of eleven aircraft:

Former aircraft types

In the past, the company used the following types of aircraft:


From 1946 to December 2018, Saudi Arabian Airlines suffered 25 total aircraft losses; six accidents resulted in a total of 642 deaths.

  • On August 19, 1980, for unknown reasons, a fire broke out in the rear cargo hold C3 of a Lockheed L-1011-200 TriStar ( aircraft registration HZ-AHK ) that had taken off from Riyadh airport seven minutes earlier . As the machine turned back for Riyadh, smoke penetrated the passenger cabin. A short time later, the fire spread to the rear of the passenger deck. The pilots were able to land the aircraft safely in Riyadh, but did not initiate an immediate evacuation. After touchdown, the machine rolled on for almost three minutes and finally came to a standstill on a taxiway . The crew has now informed the tower that the engines will be switched off and the evacuation will begin. Another three minutes passed before the pilots switched off the engines. An evacuation could no longer be carried out, as all cabin occupants were probably unable to act or were already dead at this point in time due to smoke gases and lack of oxygen . The rescue teams only managed to open a door from the outside 23 minutes later and penetrate inside. As a result of the sudden supply of oxygen , the fire spread suddenly and destroyed the hull. All 301 people on board (287 passengers and 14 crew members) were killed (see also Saudia flight 163 ) .
  • On December 23, 1980, just four months later, another fatal incident occurred over the Gulf of Bahrain on another Lockheed L-1011-200 TriStar (HZ-AHJ) . A burst tire caused an explosion during the climb , which tore an approximately 100 × 45 cm hole in the cabin floor. In addition to a few injured on the plane, a 14-year-old girl and a year-and-a-half-year-old boy, whose bodies could not be recovered, were sucked out of the plane through the hole. After the accident, the heavily damaged aircraft was repaired (see also Saudia flight 162 ) .
  • On November 12, 1996, an Ilyushin Il-76 TD from Air Kazakhstan (UN-76435) collided head-on with a Boeing 747-168B from Saudi Arabian Airlines (HZ-AIH) over the village of Charkhi Dadri, Haryana (India), see above that both crashed into a field. All 349 occupants of the two aircraft died (312 in the B747, 37 in the IL-76). The reason was human error on the part of the Air Kazakhstan pilots, who did not understand the instructions and warnings of the local air traffic control, which are usually in English, due to insufficient language skills. To date (as of November 13, 2014), this was the most serious collision in the air and the third most serious aircraft accident not caused by terrorism (see also Charkhi Dadri aircraft collision ) .
  • On January 5, 2014, the crew of a Boeing 767-300 discovered problems with the right main landing gear while approaching Medina airport . Since the problem could not be resolved in the air, the crew had to land with the landing gear partially retracted. During the subsequent evacuation of the aircraft, 29 of the 299 passengers on the flight that took off from Mashhad in Iran were injured. The aircraft was badly damaged during the emergency landing, but it was repaired.


People who only have an Israeli passport cannot book flights with Saudia. This practice was made public and criticized by the American former ombudsman and current (as of 2016) mayor of the city ​​of New York , Bill de Blasio . Since Saudia operates flights to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport , it is against applicable US law. This prohibits discrimination against passengers based on origin, religion, home country, skin color or gender. For Israeli citizens, this practice would cause problems when entering Saudi Arabia. Saudia justifies this approach with the lack of political relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

See also

Web links

Commons : Saudi Arabian Airlines  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Ulrich Klee, Frank Bucher et al .: jp airline-fleets international 1997 . Zurich Airport 1997, p. 705.
  2. SAUDI AIRLINES. Retrieved January 11, 2020 .
  3. DUBAI 2007: Saudi Arabian Airlines commits to up to 50 Airbus A320s November 12, 2007.
  4. ^ Saudi Arabian Airlines Joins SkyTeam. SkyTeam , January 10, 2011, accessed September 20, 2019 .
  5. Saudia joins SkyTeam. SkyTeam , May 29, 2012, accessed September 20, 2019 .
  6. Airbus finds first customer for regional A330 , accessed on June 15, 2015
  7. ^ Oman Air, Saudia sign codeshare agreement , Arab News, August 2, 2016
  8. Saudia adds lie-flat on narrowbody A320ceos and A321neoLRs . In: CAPA - Center for Aviation . ( [accessed December 4, 2018]).
  9. Saudia S17 International service changes as of 19JAN17. Retrieved July 29, 2016 .
  10. Saudi Arabian Airlines Fleet Details and History. Retrieved April 9, 2020 .
  11. - Our fleet accessed on June 29, 2017
  12. ^ Ch-aviation - Saudi Arabian Royal Flight (English), accessed on April 1, 2017
  13. ^ A b Saudi Arabian Government Fleet Details and History. Retrieved April 9, 2020 .
  14. - LAAS Current Corporate Jet Register (English), accessed on August 2, 2013.
  15. - REST OF THE WORLD (English; PDF; 103 kB), accessed on August 2, 2013.
  16. - Saudi Private Aviation (English), accessed on April 18, 2017
  17. - Saudi Arabian Airlines fleet details , accessed on April 18, 2017
  18. Rzjets, types of aircraft Saudia / Saudi Arabian Airlines , Retrieved on April 19, 2017
  19. Saudi Arabian accident statistics , Aviation Safety Network , accessed on January 3, 2019.
  20. ^ Accident report L-1011 HZ-AHK , Aviation Safety Network (English), accessed on January 3, 2019.
  21. ^ Accident report L-1011 HZ-AHJ , Aviation Safety Network (English), accessed on January 3, 2019.
  22. ^ Accident report B-747-100 HZ-AIH , Aviation Safety Network (English), accessed on November 13, 2015
  23. ^ Accident report IL-76 UN-76435 , Aviation Safety Network (English), accessed on November 13, 2015
  24. Accident: Saudia B763 at Madinah on Jan 5th 2014, right main gear up landing , on
  25. ^ - Saudia: Israelis Banned , July 18, 2013.
  26. - Saudi Airlines defends ban on Israeli passengers. Retrieved September 20, 2019 . (English), July 19, 2013.