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Thu 3 Oct 2013 11:12 AM

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Saudi carrier to buy 35 new aircraft

Move comes after authorities urged the national carrier to increase its domestic flights

Saudi carrier to buy 35 new aircraft

Saudi Arabian Airlines is set to purchase 35 new aircraft as part of a strategic plan to strengthen its domestic and international fleet, it was reported.

“We have received 68 of the 90 new aircraft, which we had ordered from Airbus and Boeing and are planning to buy 35 more,” the airline’s director-general Khaled Al Molhem, was quoted as saying in the Arab News.

It comes after the cabinet urged the national carrier to increase its domestic flights and improve services to passengers.

According to the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), there was a 19 percent increase in passengers travelling between Saudi cities.

However, reports have suggested the Saudi travel market faces a shortage of two million seats.

Saudia purchased 90 new aircraft, including Airbus and Boeing to modernise its fleet.

“We are the only airline in the region that has allocated 65 percent of its flights to meet domestic requirements,” Al Molhem told the Arab News.

“Last year we transported more than 2m passengers on 170,000 flights. We operate about 500 flights and transport nearly 70,000 passengers daily.”

Al Molhem said it had already privatised the Catering, Cargo, Ground Services and the Saudia Aerospace Engineering Industries following a plan set by the Supreme Economic Council.

“The 30 percent IPO of the Catering Company was subscribed by Saudis in a record time,” he was quoted as saying.

Al Molhem said Saudia carried out one of the largest programs to train and qualify its workers. It intended on turning the Prince Sultan Aviation Academy in Jeddah into one of the leading aviation training centers in the world.

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