JEDDAH: P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR
Published — Wednesday 29 January 2014
Last update 29 January 2014 12:53 am
Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) on Tuesday announced that it would operate its first flight to Los Angeles on March 31 as part of its efforts to expand its international operations and meet requirements of passengers including Saudis studying in American universities and institutes.
“We have made all preparations to start our operations to Los Angeles, Saudia’s third destination in the US after Washington DC and New York,” said Abdul Mohsen Junaid, executive vice president for commercial affairs.
He said the new flight was aimed at strengthening the airline’s competitive position and serve various groups of passengers including Saudi students, Haj and Umrah pilgrims and business executives. “It will also boost trade exchange between the two countries.”
He said Saudia would operate three flights weekly to Los Angeles on Saturdays, Thursdays and Mondays. The flight between Riyadh and Los Angeles will take 16-and-half hours. The outgoing flight 041 will take off from Riyadh at 00:35 and pass by Jeddah (03:50) before arriving in Los Angeles. The return flight 042 will take off from the US city at 3:00 p.m., pass by Jeddah before arriving in Riyadh.
Junaid said Saudia would operate Boeing 777-300ER aircraft for the new flight. The aircraft has 24 seats in the First Class, 36 in Business Class and 245 in the Economy Class.
Saudia intends to resume flights to Manchester with a direct route to Jeddah on April 1. Flights will commence three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The Saudi flag carrier last operated from Manchester Airport in 2007 and the new Jeddah route is expected to attract a range of leisure and business passengers.
Rashid Alajmi, general manager of passenger sales and services for the European region at Saudia, said: “We are very happy that our plans to return to Manchester have now come to fruition, and that we are now able to offer northwest customers a non-stop service to Saudi Arabia.”
“Commercial ties between the north of England and Saudi Arabia have traditionally been very strong and this new service will give business customers in the region the opportunity to travel to Saudi Arabia without having to transfer en-route,” he said.
The service will also benefit the region’s large Muslim population, especially when traveling to perform the religious pilgrimages of Haj and Umrah. “The flight is timed in such a way that passengers can reach the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah at the most convenient time, Alajmi added.
Saudia also announced that it would allow 10-liter Zamzam water bottles for Haj and Umrah passengers and visitors free of charge at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Airport in Madinah. A passenger will be allowed to carry one Zamzam bottle produced at King Abdullah Zamzam Water Project and it will be accepted along with the baggage.
Saudia will also accept Zamzam water bottles at other domestic airports from passengers traveling to domestic and international destinations as part of their allowed baggage and they have to pay extra baggage fees only if it exceeds the allowed baggage limit.