Saudia To fly to Spain’s second-largest city with state aid

Photo Credit: Harrison Rowe/AviationSource

LONDON – Saudia, the flag carrier of Saudi Arabia has recently announced a direct flight to Spain’s second-largest city: Barcelona.

Barcelona will be added to Saudia’s route network under the Air Connectivity Program. Passengers are now finding it easier to travel to Spain with Saudia after the announcement of this new destination.

Barcelona is famous for its culture, art scene, nightlife, cuisine, and distinct Catalonian culture, and is home to football giants FC Barcelona. 

The flight took off from Saudi Arabia’s largest city Jeddah to Barcelona on the 2nd of July Saturday at 10:20 AM. The inaugural flight was met with fanfare.

The event took place at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Al Fursan international Lounge and at the boarding gate.

The historical press event was attended by the VP of Marketing and Product Management in SAUDIA, Mr Essam Akhonbay and Mr Ricardo Mor Sola, Deputy Head of Mission of the Spanish Embassy in the Kingdom, as well as Mr Rashed Alshammari the VP of Commercial and Mr Sultan Otaify the VP of Strategy and Communication from the Air Connectivity Program to mark the inauguration of the flight.

Flights in July to Madrid will be operated seasonally. 

When seasonal operations end as of the end of August 30ths, Saudia will be flying this route double weekly, under the Air Connectivity Program. 

The Air Connectivity program aids the airline to operate routes with rather lower margins and ensures the airline keeps on flying despite these aspects.

The announcement of the flight to Barcelona is a response from the Saudi government to rapidly open up Saudi Arabia as an open and tourist-friendly destination.

This subsidy programme is also set to benefit Saudia, as this will allow the airline to compete with other Gulf carriers like Etihad, Qatar and Emirates.

Moreover, this program will also align the country’s aviation sector to the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.

As has been written before, the Air Connectivity Programme is also being implemented between Jeddah and the Swiss city of Zurich. Two other destinations utilised under this programme will soon be announced. 

Mr. Essam Akhonbay, VP of Marketing & Product Management stated that “This collaboration benefits SAUDIA’s strategic objective of bringing the world to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The direct scheduled flights to and from Barcelona all year round will increase the tourism and business traffic between the two destinations”.

Sultan Otaify, VP of Strategy and Communication of The Air Connectivity Program said: “This exciting partnership with Saudia enables the Kingdom’s air connectivity and capacity, providing better air travel access to tourists and supporting the Kingdom in realizing its ambitious tourism objectives”

The airline’s new route pairing of Barcelona and Jeddah will benefit both countries as this will propel tourism on both ends. This also means that Saudia is preparing itself for a very busy summer schedule. 

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