Saudia, Saudi Arabia's national airline, has reached a major milestone by celebrating 35 years of flying between Saudi Arabia and Washington. This significant event marks over three decades of connecting the two countries.

Saudia Reflects on 35-Year Legacy of Washington Flights, Cultural Exchange
(Photo : mehmetkali from Pixabay)

Saudia Celebrates 35 Years of Flights to Washington

The anniversary was commemorated at Washington Dulles International Airport, where passengers were given special keepsakes. In-flight announcements also highlighted this important day. The celebration was a chance to remember the first Saudia flight that landed in Washington 35 years ago.

Breaking News Travel reported that the event's highlight was the presentation of a Certificate of Appreciation to Hisham Khalifa, Lead Agent for Customer Services at Saudia. Khalifa has been with the airline since the beginning of its Washington flights. Khaled Alehedeb, Saudia's Regional Manager for North & South America, emphasized the importance of recognizing long-serving employees like Khalifa. He stated that this shows Saudia's dedication to both its customers and staff.

Since 1988, when the flights to Washington began, Saudia has played an important role in strengthening the ties between Saudi Arabia and the United States. These flights have supported business, tourism, and finance sectors. They also provide crucial services for students from Saudi Arabia studying in Washington, as well as for their families. Additionally, the airline caters to Muslim pilgrims traveling to Hajj and Umrah from the Washington area.

In the past year, Saudia carried more than 152,800 passengers on 665 flights between the Kingdom and Washington. The current schedule includes 14 flights per week. Eight of these are to and from Jeddah, and six are to and from Riyadh. Saudia uses Boeing 777 aircraft for these flights, which feature top-class first-class suites for a more luxurious travel experience.

Related Article: Emirates Steps Up for Climate with The Solent Cluster Initiative

Remarkable Growth in 2023: Over 30 Million Passengers, Expanded Flight Operations

Saudia has achieved impressive growth in 2023. They have transported over 30 million passengers, which is 21% more than the previous year. According to Times Aerospace, the airline also ran more than 176,300 flights, a 4% increase from before. There was a huge rise in transit flights, which went up by 77% compared to 2019.

This growth is due to Saudia increasing the number of seats on planes and the frequency of flights. They also worked on being more efficient. This led to 86.44% of their flights being on time in 2023, one of the best rates in the world.

Internationally, Saudia played a big role in connecting people to Saudi Arabia. They flew over 16.7 million people on international flights, a 36% increase. These flights covered more than 79,400 trips, 19% more than the year before. The airline also saw a 26% increase in the total hours its planes were in the air, reaching 382,000 hours in 2023.

Within Saudi Arabia, Saudia continued to serve well, carrying over 13.5 million passengers domestically. This is 7% more than the previous year. Most of their flights, 55%, were within the country, totaling 96,900 trips.

In 2023, Saudia also started flying to the new Red Sea International Airport. They launched flights to Beijing, Birmingham, and Johannesburg, showing their commitment to expanding globally.

Captain Ibrahim Koshy, CEO of Saudia Group, said their success shows how well they planned and operated, especially during busy times. He looks forward to expanding their fleet and starting a new chapter in the airline's 80-year history.

Read Also: American Airlines Cuts Workforce, Focuses on Enhanced Customer Experience