New Flights to Europe with Saudia: Recovery in Full Steam with State Assistance

Aero Pixels from England, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – Saudia Airlines announces additional new flights to Barcelona and Zurich as the post-pandemic recovery gains full steam. 

Saudia’s expansion into Europe isn’t possible without help from the Saudi government. The Saudi Government has launched an initiative called the National Air Connectivity Programme (NACP).

The NACP pact, which was signed between Saudia and the country’s government, will help to boost the country’s inbound passenger traffic, thus generating income for the country. This is in line with the country’s de-facto leader Mohammed Bin Salman’s plan for Saudi Arabia to become a tourism hub in the region.

The NACP agreement, or initiative, was inked by Saudia’s CEO, Captain Ibrahim Koshy, and NACP’s CEO Khalil Lamrabet. 

The NACP will assist Saudia in launching new flights to Zurich (ZRH) and Barcelona (BCN). The new route to Zurich, Switzerland will commence operations in August, whilst the Spanish route will be flown in  July.

Moreover, the airline will soon announce another two new routes under the NACP programme, which we readers will have to stay tuned for later. 

Photo: Saudia Airlines

According to the airline CEO,  Captain Ibrahim Koshy, “This agreement coincides with one of the most prominent goals of SAUDIA, which is bringing the world to the kingdom by expanding operations to new international destinations and making sure that we are providing more flights and seat capacity for our current network, which recently exceeded 100 destinations after launching a number of new destinations in the past months.”

The CEO of the National Air Connectivity Program (NACP), Khalil Lambrabet, stated with much excitement: “We are pleased to launch this exciting partnership with SAUDIA”

“These new non-stop routes will positively affect tourism traffic from Spain and Switzerland by providing a more convenient option to travel and experience Saudi Tourism.”

“We are confident that this partnership will provide a promising platform for additional Air Connectivity growth in support of the Kingdom’s tourism sector.”

An ambitious expansion

Lately, the airline has been embarking on an ambitious expansion in Europe, Asia and Africa. New routes include Entebbe, in Uganda. This marks, a special milestone for the airline travelling to the heartland of Africa.

A couple of months back, Saudia also added Bangkok, Thailand to its route network after 3 decades of diplomatic absence between the South East Asian Nation and Saudi Arabia.

Other routes include Marrakech in Morocco, Malaga in Spain, Moscow, in Russia, Mykonos, in the Aegean in Greece and soon to Seoul, South Korea. 

It looks like Saudia is liking itself to become the next ME3 carrier of the future, competing with Qatar, Emirates and Etihad.  The aggressive expansion means that the Saudi Arabian flag carrier aims to become a viable rival to the Emirates, not just only aviation-wise, but in terms of economy, transportation and tourism.

The expansion of Saudia coincides with the country’s vision of Saudia 2030. The aviation sector retains a vital role to promote Saudi’s culture and tourism growth.

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