Saudia Airlines, the flag carrier airline of Saudi Arabia, will be returning to Manchester airport in 2014 with three direct flights to Jeddah per week. Flights will depart from Manchester Airport’s terminal two on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays beginning on March 28th.
Saudia had terminated all routes from Manchester Airport in 2007, but now with the city’s quickly growing diversity, airport authorities are confident that these re-established routes will attract large numbers of both business and leisure passengers.
Saudia Airlines will now be departing from Terminal 2 at Manchester Airport.
At the time of the 2001 census, 9.1 % of Manchester’s population identified themselves as Muslim, giving Greater Manchester one of the largest Muslim populations in the UK. Part of this statistic can be attributed to the many Saudi students who have chosen to further their education in the internationally recognised universities in the north of England. These students will now have an easier and more convenient way to get home, and others will benefit from this service when travelling in the religious pilgrimages of Hajj and Umrah.
Ken O’Toole, chief commercial officer for Manchester Airports Group, stated: "The introduction of this route is testament to the strength of Manchester airport’s catchment and we look forward to this direct service supporting the strong commercial, ethnic and educational relationships that exist between Saudi Arabia and the north west."
Saudia is a member of the Arab Air Carriers Organisation and joined the SkyTeam airline alliance on 29 May 2012. The airline was once the largest carrier in the region, but due to the continuing development and rapid growth of other airports, Saudia is now ranked third largest, behind Emirates and Qatar Airways.