Saudi Arabian Airlines


Saudi Arabian Airlines

Infobox Airline
airline = الخطوط الجوية العربية السعودية
Saudi Arabian Airlines

logo_size = 200
fleet_size = 117 (+ 72 Orders)
destinations = 76
IATA = SV
ICAO = SVA
callsign = SAUDIA
parent = N/A (owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)
company_slogan =
founded = 1945
headquarters = Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
key_people = HRH Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz (CEO), Khalid Abdullah Almolhem (Director General)
hubs = Jeddah-King Abdulaziz International Airport
Riyadh-King Khalid International Airport
Dammam-King Fahd International Airport
secondary_hubs =
focus_cities =
frequent_flyer = Alfursan
lounge =
alliance =
website = http://www.saudiairlines.com/

Saudi Arabian Airlines (Arabic: الخطوط الجوية العربية السعودية) is the national airline of Saudi Arabia, based in Jeddah. It operates domestic and international scheduled flights to over 70 destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. Domestic and international charter flights are operated, mostly during Ramadan and the Hajj season. The airline's main operational base is at Jeddah-King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED). Other major hubs are Riyadh-King Khalid International Airport (RUH), and Dammam-King Fahd International Airport (DMM). The new Dammam airport was opened for commercial use on 28 November 1999. Dhahran International Airport in use until then, has reverted back to being used as a military base. Saudi Arabian Airlines is a member of the Arab Air Carriers Organization.The airline used to be the largest carrier in the region, but because of the growth of other airports and airlines has become the second largest in 2006, behind Emirates Airline.

History

When US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt presented a Douglas DC-3 as a gift to King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud in 1945, the event marked the Kingdom's gradual development of civil aviation. The nation' flag carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines was founded in September 1946 as a fully owned government agency under the control of the Ministry of Defense, with TWA running the airline under a management contract.

From the beginning, Jeddah-Kandara airport - very near the town centre - served as the flag carrier's main base. Among the airline's early operations was a special flight from Lydda in Palestine, a British Mandate at that time, to carry Hajj pilgrims to Jeddah. The airline used five DC-3 aircraft to launch scheduled operations on the Jeddah-Riyadh-Hofuf-Dhahran route in March 1947, followed by its first international service between Jeddah and Cairo also in that same month. Service to Damascus and Beirut followed in early 1948.

In 1949, the first of five Bristol 170s was received. These aircraft offered the airline the flexibility of carrying both passengers and cargo.

The slow but steady growth continued during the 1950s and services were inaugurated to Istanbul, Karachi, Amman, Kuwait City, Asmara, and Port Sudan. The fleet also saw a small growth during the 1950s, with five DC-4s and ten Convair 340s, the first pressurized aircraft for the airline. In 1959, the airline's first maintenance center was inaugurated in Jeddah. Also during this decade, the very important air link between Jeddah and Riyadh saw improved.In 1962, the airline took delivery of two Boeing 720s, making history by becoming the first Middle Eastern airline to fly jets. On 19 February, 1963, the airline became a registered company, with King Faisal of Saudi Arabia signing the papers that declared Saudi Arabian a fully independent company. DC-6s and Boeing 707s were later bought, and the airline joined AACO, the Arab Air Carriers Organization. Services were started to Sharjah, Tehran, Khartoum, Bombay, Tripoli, Tunis, Rabat, Geneva, Frankfurt, and London.

In the 1970s, a new livery was introduced. The carrier's name was changed to Saudia on 1 April 1972. Boeing 737 and Boeing 747 equipment was bought, with the 737s replacing the Douglas DC-9. The first all-cargo flights between Saudi Arabia and Europe were started, and Lockheed L-1011s and Fairchild FH-27s were introduced. New services, including the "Arabian Express" 'no reservation shuttle flights' between Jeddah and Riyadh. The "Special Flight Services" (SFS) was set up as a special unit of Saudia, and operates special flights for the Royal family and government agencies. Service was also started to Rome, Paris, Muscat, Kano, and Stockholm. The Pan Am / Saudia joint service between Dhahran and New York City started on 3 February 1979.

Some services opened during the 1980s for the airline, such as "Saudia Catering". Flights were started to Athens, Bangkok, Dhaka, Mogadishu, Nairobi, New York City, Madrid, Singapore City, Manila, Delhi, Islamabad, Seoul, Baghdad, Amsterdam, Colombo, Nice, Lahore, Brussels, Dakar, Kuala Lumpur and Taipei. "Horizon Class", a business class service, was established to offer enhanced service to passengers. Cargo hubs were built at Brussels and Taipei. Airbus A300s, Fokker F-28s, and Cessna Citations were also added to the fleet, the Citations for the SFS service. To finish the decade, services were introduced in 1989 to Larnaca and Addis Ababa.



Other aircraft

*6 Beechcraft Bonanza (training)
*1 Dassault Falcon 900 (government use)
*1 De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 300 (government use)
*4 Gulfstream II (incl. 3 government use)
*3 Gulfstream III (government use)
*6 Gulfstream IV (government use)
*2 Gulfstream V (government use)
*8 Piper Archer II (training)

A number of military C-130s are painted with the Saudi colors and are flown by Royal Saudi Air Force crews to support Saudi official activities in the region and Europe.

The average age of the fleet is 12.8 years as of February 2007, with some of the current aircraft being more than 30 years old. [cite web |url=http://www.airfleets.net/ageflotte/Saudi%20Arabian%20Airlines.htm |title=Saudi Arabian Airlines Fleet age |author=Airfleets.net]

New aircraft orders

Saudi Arabian Airlines has a firm commitment for the following:
*50 Airbus A320-200 (5 to be leased from ALAFCO, delivery in 2009)
* 8 Airbus A330-300
*12 Boeing 787

Codeshare agreements

Saudi Arabian Airlines has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:
*Air France
*Egypt Air
*Etihad Airways
*Gulf Air
*Iran Air
*Mahan Air
*Qatar Airways
*SriLankan Airlines
*Syrian Arab Airlines

Incidents and accidents

* 19 August 1980: Saudia Flight 163 Karachi-Riyadh-Jeddah was completely destroyed by fire at Riyadh airport with the loss of all people on board the L-1011.

* On 23 December 1980, a tire on a Saudi Arabian L-1011 exploded, penetrating the passenger cabin. The hole sucked out two passengers and depressurized the cabin. [ [http://www.airdisaster.com/cgi-bin/view_details.cgi?date=12231980&reg=HZ-AHJ&airline=Saudi+Arabian+Airlines Accident Database: Accident Synopsis 12231980 ] ]

* While flying in Indian airspace on 12 November 1996, Saudia Flight 763 collided with Air Kazakhstan Flight 1907; all 349 people on board the two aircraft died.
* On 8 September 2005, a Saudi Arabian Boeing 747 travelling from Colombo to Jeddah, carrying mostly Sri Lankan nationals to take up employment in the Kingdom, received a false alarm claiming that a bomb had been planted on board. The aircraft returned to Colombo and, during the evacuation, there was a passenger stampede in the wake of which one Sri Lankan woman died, 62 were injured, and 17 were hospitalized. The aircraft had taken on a load of 420 passengers in Colombo. [" [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0WDQ/is_2005_Sept_12/ai_n15403211 Bomb hoax triggers panic at Sri Lanka airport] ," "Asian Political News". 12 September 2005]

* On 1 February 2007, a Saudia Arabian Boeing 747-300 was taxiing at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport when a Garuda Indonesia Boeing 737-5U3 registered PK-GGD, was acting a pushback. The pilots did not see the airplane and the two aircraft collided. However, no injuries were reported, and both aircraft returned to service then.

Trivia

*In the middle 1990s, a DC-3 that used to fly for Saudi Arabian was re-decorated in the airline's early livery and flown back to Saudi Arabia.
*The DC-3 that was delivered to Saudi Arabia's King in the 1940s is still kept, but not flown, by the airline. It sits on the runway by Saudi Arabian's terminal at Jeddah International Airport.
*From 1978 to 1983 Saudia was the title sponsor of the Williams Formula One team, with the airline's colours appearing on the championship winning cars of Alan Jones (1980) and Keke Rosberg (1982).
*Saudi Arabian Airlines, with Iran Air, are the only operators of the Boeing 747-100B

References

ee also

*Prince Sultan Aviation Academy

External links

* [http://www.saudiairlines.com/ Saudi Airlines official website]
* [http://pr.sv.net/aw Ahlan Wasahlan inflight magazine]
* [http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/aero_02/textonly/a01txt.html Saudi Arabian Airlines : The Jewel of the Middle East] , "Boeing"


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