June 13, 2024
World Economy

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RIYADH: British Airways is set to resume operations in Jeddah after a five-year hiatus, aiming to enhance connectivity to the Kingdom, the airline said. 

Announced at the GREAT Futures Initiative Conference held in Riyadh, the route is scheduled to commence on Nov. 4, offering year-round service to the Saudi city from London Heathrow, according to a press release. 

The new service, operated by the Boeing 787 fleet, will total four flights per week, and sit alongside the daily operations between Riyadh and Heathrow.

Speaking at the event, Colm Lacy, British Airways’ chief commercial officer, said: “We have a long history of connecting families, friends and businesses in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with our home in London.” 

He added: “There are significant opportunities for businesses in both countries, so we’re pleased we can re-build our connectivity and strengthen links between the two kingdoms.”  

In a joint statement, Mazen Johar, CEO of Jeddah Airports, and Majid Khan, CEO of Saudi Air Connectivity Program, said: “The return of the UK’s flag carrier to Jeddah, with new flights from London Heathrow, will further strengthen our air connectivity from the capital.” 

They added: “With British Airways’ leading network in the UK, Europe, and onwards to North America, travelers can experience an untouched wonder, Saudi Arabia, through one of the leading global carriers, further supporting our growing inbound tourism and aviation market.”  

Earlier this week, the Kingdom’s General Authority of Civil Aviation released a statement revealing that an ambitious roadmap outlining Saudi Arabia’s tenfold growth in the aviation sector into a $2 billion industry is on track to be unveiled at the Future Aviation Forum in May. 

The plans encompass the business jet segment, including charter, private, and corporate aircraft, and aim to bolster Saudi Arabia’s development as a global high-value enterprise and tourist destination, the statement noted at the time. 

It also highlighted that the plan comes after Saudi Arabia revised its 2030 tourism target upward from 100 million to 150 million visitors in October 2023. 

Also earlier this week, the Kingdom’s Minister of Commerce announced that partnerships between Saudi Arabia and the UK encompass over 60 initiatives across 13 sectors, with trade between the countries up by a third since 2018. 

During the opening remarks of the GREAT Futures Initiative Conference, Majid Al-Qasabi noted that bilateral trade surged between 2018 and 2023, exceeding £79 billion ($99.12 billion). 

With over 1,100 active licenses for UK investors, developments such as the giga-projects in the Kingdom and policy reforms are enhancing business opportunities, the minister emphasized. 

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