Saudia carries 13.3% more passengers with 58 new planes

National airline of world's largest oil producer carried 24m passengers during 2012

Saudi Arabian Airlines, the national carrier of the world's largest oil producer, carried 13.3 percent more passengers last year as the airline's fleet increased.

Saudia carried 24m passengers in 2012, 2.85m more than the previous year, with more passengers travelling domestically within the kingdom than on the operator's international routes, Arab News reported, citing the airline's director general Khaled Al-Molhem.

The airline added extra capacity after receiving 58 new Airbus SAS aircraft (A320, A321, and A330) and Boeing's wide body 777-300ER during the year, helping increase its number of seats and flight frequencies, the newspaper reported, citing Molhem.

The carrier operated a record 171,341 flights in 2012, or 8 percent more than 158,449 flights in 2011.

The state-owned carrier competes with budget airline nasair, which has been operating since 2007 and is 37 percent owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's Kingdom Holding. In 2010, Sama Airlines, another budget carrier that also operated in Saudi Arabia, suspended operations after amassing over US$300m in losses.

Saudi Arabia, which has the Arab's world's largest economy and seeks to open up its aviation market, announced in December that Qatar Airways and Bahrain's national carrier Gulf Air had secured licenses to operate foreign and local flights within the kingdom. 

A key criticism in Saudi Arabia has been that the fuel subsidy for national carrier Saudi Arabian and a cap on domestic fares has disadvantaged competitors. The kingdom, which has a population of about 27m people, operates four international and six domestic airports.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
The cost of the US laptop ban

The cost of the US laptop ban

Aviation analysts and airline bosses are warning of significant...

Q&A: The laptop ban and what it means when flying from Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Q&A: The laptop ban and what it means when flying from Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Couldn't a laptop with a bomb inside still pose a danger within...

After all the hype, what's the future for Hyperloop One

After all the hype, what's the future for Hyperloop One

Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One may have struck a deal this month...

Most Discussed