Saudi Airlines (Saudia) said it is gearing up for the summer peak season, which is set to be the largest operations in its history.

Saudia will offer more than 16.8 million seats on 77,000 flights during the four-month period. These include more than 7.7 million seats on 44,246 domestic flights and more than 9.3 million seats on 33,000 flights to 70 international destinations.

The peak season includes school holidays in Saudi Arabia, with overlapping seasons of the Umrah pilgrimage travel business during Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr and the Hajj. Saudia plans to expand its religious and pilgrim business as the Saudi government continues to issue more visas.

Saudia operates 149 aircraft and, for this year’s Hajj season, has wet-leased an additional 13 widebody aircraft. Saudia mainly wet-leases Airbus A330s and Boeing 747s.

The Hajj peak season is about 70 days, during which Saudia transports an average of 1.1 million passengers to and from Saudi Arabia.

Saudia will exchange narrowbody aircraft with widebody variants in the high-season on routes to Europe.

Services to:

  • Frankfurt (Germany) become a daily Boeing 777 operation (upgraded from A320 family aircraft);
  • Munich (Germany) become 6X-weekly Airbus A330 (instead of A320s) service;
  • Istanbul (Turkey) becomes daily A330 service; and
  • Geneva (Switzerland) becomes daily Boeing 777 (instead of A320) service.

Frequencies to Vienna (Austria) will increase to 5X-weekly with upgraded Airbus A320s. All A320s operating to Europe have retrofitted cabins, offering 20 lie-flat seats in business class and 90 in economy.

Saudia has also launched new scheduled services to Marrakesh (Casablanca), Athens (Greece) and seasonal services to Malacca (Malaysia).

Saudia transported 34 million passengers in 2018.

Kurt Hofmann, hofmann.aviation@netway.at