Middle East

Saudia acquires 63 new additional airplanes

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Saudi Arabian Airlines will acquire 63 aircraft as part of a fleet expansion and modernization program.

His Excellency the Minister of Transport, Chairman of the Board of General Authority of Civil Aviation and Chairman of the Board of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Mr. Sulaiman Alhamdan announced the approval by Saudia’s Board of Directors of Saudia’s fleet plan.

Alhamdan further stated:

“It is my pleasure to announce that the national carrier has acquired 63 new aircraft as part of its fleet expansion and modernization plan reflecting the strength of our national economy.”

He stressed that this new acquisition will support the national carrier’s operating plans for domestic and international markets and its ambitious transformation program that was approved and supported by the Board as many of its initiatives and the objectives of its strategic plan are being carried out.

Saudia’s Director General Engineer Saleh Aljasser elaborated that this new acquisition includes 15 Boeing 777-300ER’s, 13 Boeing 787’s and 35 Airbus A320/A321neo.

These aircraft are in addition to the 50 Airbus aircraft (A330 Regional and A320) that Saudia signed for last year in Paris.

He further added:

“Saudia within two years has signed agreements to acquire 113 aircraft, in line with its fleet renewal and expansion initiative which is part of the Transformation Program that was launched last year to double in seven years what has been achieved in 70 years, and includes several other initiatives starting with investment in our people, upgrade operational efficiency and effectiveness, focus on total customer experience, optimize the network and creating distinctive products for our guests. Several of the initiatives have already been executed and some are in the process so that by 2020 we will reach our targets of a fleet of 200 aircraft, 1000 daily flights and 45 million annual passengers.”

Next year will witness the delivery of  thirty aircraft, the highest number in the history of the airline, 22 of which are wide-body aircraft (777-300ER, 787-9 and A330R), while within the last 4 months of this year 2016 Saudia is receiving 25 aircraft, 21 of which are wide-body in addition to the four aircraft it received earlier this year bringing the total deliveries in 2016 to 29 aircraft.

He further added that as part of the fleet renewal, several aircraft will be taken out of service according to a phase-out plan that takes in consideration the delivery of new aircraft.

Four 747-400 aircraft have been phased-out this year, and the phase-out of the Embraer 170 fleet of 15 aircraft is ongoing and will be completed by the end of this year.

Saudia Embraer 170

The phase-out of the Embraer 170 fleet is ongoing and will be completed by the end of 2016 (Photo: Tis Meyer/Planepics.org)

Additionally, Saudia will phase-out five units from its Boeing 777-200 fleet of 23 aircraft, with the remaining 18 scheduled to be phased-out before the end of 2017.

The airline’s early generation of A320 aircraft will be phased-out over the next two years.

Mr. Aljasser emphasized that these agreements to acquire new aircraft was being accompanied by other initiatives to train and prepare its national manpower to operate and maintain this fleet. This is reflected in the agreement Saudia signed with the Ministry of Education for 5000 scholarships to send Saudi students to study abroad aviation sciences and maintenance.

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