Airlines plans to halve its domestic flights by the end of next month, to allow
two new private airlines Sama and Nas to operate flights on new
routes, it announced on 12 September. Saudia will stop operations in 14 domestic
sectors on 30 March 2008, in line with a plan set out by the General Authority
for Civil Aviation (GACA), the kingdom''s air transport regulator.
dropped destinatons include Dammam-Hail, Dammam-Bisha, Dammam-Riyadh, Abha-Taif,
Abha-Jizan, Abha-Sharourah, Riyadh-Hail, Riyadh-Hofouf, Riyadh-Qassim, Riyadh-Refha,
Riyadh-Qaisuma, Riyadh-Wajh, Riyadh-Dawadmi, and Riyadh-Wadi Al-Dawasser.
Saudia official emphasised the importance of good coordination between air carriers
under the umbrella of GACA, saying it would ensure their smooth operations. Under
the new plan, Nas will operate flights from Riyadh to Qassim, Hail, Hofouf, Refha,
Wajh, Qaisuma and Dawadmi, while Sama will have flights from Dammam to Hail, Bisha,
and Riyadh. Nas will also operate flights between Abha, Taif, Jizan and Sharourah.
source said Saudia would continue to operate its regular flights from Jeddah to
all other domestic destinations. GACA has specified mandatory routes for the three
airlines operating domestic flights in the kingdom.
will start operating on these sectors from 28 October, and fares on these routes
are likely to go down. At present, Sama operates 30 flights daily to Dammam, Jeddah,
Riyadh, Abha, Jizan and Madinah. In April, Saudia announced its plan to launch
a low-cost airline as part of a strategic plan to strengthen the carrier in the
face of domestic and foreign competition.