JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabian Airlines, the flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, today signed an agreement to join SkyTeam in 2012. The airline will be SkyTeam’s first member from the Middle East, adding 35 new destinations to the alliance network.
Saudi Arabian Airlines complements the SkyTeam network by offering customers access to destinations across the Middle East not currently served by SkyTeam members. Through Saudi Arabia’s major hubs of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, travelers can connect to new destinations on the Arabian Peninsula, the Indian subcontinent and Northern Africa. Examples are Alexandria, Aden, Colombo and Islamabad.
SkyTeam members will have access to new potential customers from the region as Saudi Arabian Airlines offers direct flights to Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States. Customers can transfer to SkyTeam partner flights via hubs such as Paris, Rome, Nairobi and New York-JFK. SkyTeam partner China Southern also offers regular connections to Asia from Jeddah.
Turnaround program to improve the product offering
Saudi Arabian Airlines is focused on its four-year turnaround program to be completed by 2013. Key elements of this plan include modernization of its infrastructure, restructuring of its domestic and international network and implementing its fleet modernization plan through the purchase of the most advanced aircraft.
Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Eng. Khalid Al-Molhem, said joining SkyTeam will add value to the carrier’s services: “The SkyTeam network provides our customers with excellent connections to most parts of the world. Through the exchange of services and knowledge between all member airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines can achieve qualitative improvements, made available to our customers. These include airport services, ground services and First Class and Business Class passenger lounges.”
Leo van Wijk, Chairman of SkyTeam, said: “Saudi Arabian Airlines is a significant player in the Middle East and covers a considerable part of the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian subcontinent. Its membership in SkyTeam will enable us to compete more efficiently within the region.”
Marie-Joseph Male, Managing Director of SkyTeam, added: “Announcing our first new member in 2011 clearly illustrates the continuing global expansion that we accelerated last year. In 2010, China Eastern and its daughter company Shanghai Airlines, China Airlines, Garuda Indonesia and Aerolineas Argentinas all confirmed their future membership in SkyTeam. Adding Saudi Arabian Airlines will definitely complement our network offer to our customers.”