Barcelona, Zurich To Join Saudia’s Network

The routes are being made possible thanks to a new incentive scheme launched by Saudi Arabia’s government.

Credit: Saudi National Air Connectivity Program

Saudia has signed an agreement to launch two new European routes to destinations in Spain and Switzerland as part of Saudi Arabia’s National Air Connectivity Program.

The connectivity scheme, funded by the country’s Public Investment Fund, offers airlines financial incentives to fly routes that have so far been deemed unprofitable. It forms part of Saudi Arabia’s ambition to attract 100 million tourists per year by 2030.

Under the agreement, state-owned Saudia will begin flying twice a week from Jeddah (JED) to Barcelona (BCN) in July, and from Riyadh (RUH) to Zurich (ZRH) in August. In addition, the carrier plans to add two more routes that will be announced at a later date.

The four routes are expected to provide more than 60,000 two-way seats annually.

“We are pleased to launch this exciting partnership with Saudia,” said Khalil Lamrabet, CEO of the National Air Connectivity Program. “These new nonstop routes will positively affect tourism traffic from Spain and Switzerland by providing a more convenient option to travel and experience Saudi tourism.”

In addition to Zurich and Barcelona, Saudia is adding 10 new routes to its network this year. New points include Amsterdam (AMS), Entebbe (EBB), Malaga (AGP) and Seoul Incheon (ICN).

In May, the carrier also announced plans to launch the first scheduled commercial flights from Neom, the “smart city” Saudi Arabia is building in the northwest of the country, with a connection to Dubai (DXB).

The Neom Bay Airport (NUM)-DXB route will be operated 1X-weekly starting at the end of June. The Saudi flag carrier said service from NUM to London will “follow shortly.”