JEDDAH: P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR
Published — Tuesday 4 June 2013
Last update 13 June 2013 9:38 am
A major plan by Saudi Arabian Airlines is ready for takeoff to meet the summer challenge by operating additional flights to popular domestic and international destinations.
“We’ll implement our operation plan on Thursday and this will continue until Aug. 30,” said Abdullah Al-Ajhar, vice president of the national carrier for public relations.
The plan focuses on operating more flights to major domestic destinations. “We have decided to make available as many seats as possible to meet demand,” Al-Ajhar told Arab News.
The General Authority of Civil Aviation has said there is a shortage of 2 million seats on domestic flights as most Saudi families depend on air travel to reach their destinations.
The GACA report emphasizes the need for more airlines to operate domestic flights.
Saudia has purchased 90 new aircraft including Airbus and Boeing to modernize and beef up its fleet and meet marketing requirements. “We have received 65 new planes including A330s and B777-300ERs and have joined our flight network,” Al-Ajhar said.
“We have tried our best to provide the largest number of seats on domestic flights. We have also deployed more workers at airports and call centers to cater to the needs of passengers.” He said all operation sectors have completed preparations for the summer rush, which coincides with school vacation, Ramadan Umrah operation and exodus of illegals. “We have set up special offices to deal with delayed flights and inform passengers about status of their flights.”
Mohammed Saeed of Akbar Travels expected bigger passenger traffic this summer compared to last year because of Umrah rush and exodus of illegals. “This situation affects not only Jeddah but also Riyadh and Dammam, other two major hubs,” he said, adding that passengers would find it very difficult to get seats.