1945: The Beginning

14 February

Wednesday, 14 February, 1945, marked the historic meeting of King Abdulaziz and US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, at which the American president expressed his wish to present His Majesty King Abdulaziz with a gift: a Douglas DC-3 aircraft.


14 April

On Saturday, 14 April 1945, the gifted aircraft arrived in Jeddah. The aircraft was received by His Royal Highness Prince Mansour bin Abdulaziz, the Minster of Defense and Inspector General at the time.

30 September

On Sunday, 30 September, 1945, this aircraft took off for the first time and carried His Majesty King, from Afif to Taif on a flight that took one hour and 20 minutes.


1940s: Foundation

The Bright Dawn

SAUDIA purchases two additional DC-3s in 1945 as decreed by His Majesty King Abdulaziz


Going International

The first international flights with Palestine in 1946
Starts flights to Damascus, Cairo in 1947 and Beirut in 1948

The Beginning of Cargo

Five Bristol 170 join SAUDIA’s fleet to start cargo services in 1949


1950s: Formation


Internal Maintenance

SAUDIA establishes Aircraft Maintenance Department in 1959

Bigger Fleet

The fleet grows to more than 35 in just a few years

1960s: Leadership


Pioneer Fleet

SAUDIA becomes the first airline in the Middle East to introduce jet-engine aircraft to its fleet with the B720 in 1962

Wider Network

SAUDIA’s flights cover all North African states


Independent Identity

Royal Decree establishes the Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation as an independent entity in 1963

Entering the European Market

SAUDIA launches its first flights to Europe with London as their new destination


DC-6 aircraft dedicated to cargo services join SAUDIA in 1964

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Arab Airline Alliance

SAUDIA Joins the Arab Air Carrier’s Organization (AACO) in 1965

The Age of Jet Aircraft

SAUDIA becomes the first airline in the Middle East to introduce B707 aircraft

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Joining IATA

SAUDIA Joins the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in 1967

1970s: Achievements

Expanding the Fleet

76 of the latest B720s, B707s, B737s and Tristar aircraft join SAUDIA’s fleet



Carries one million passengers for the first time in 1972

Carries a record eight million passengers in 1979


The Most Modern Fleet

SAUDIA becomes the first airline in the Middle East to operate B747s in 1977


1980s: Global Exposure

The American Conquest

SAUDIA starts first flights to the USA in 1981


Entering the
Catering Industry

SAUDIA establishes the first dedicated catering unit in Jeddah to serve SAUDIA and other airlines in 1981

New Hub

SAUDIA moves to King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah 1981

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Another Milestones

Carries a record 11 million passengers in 1983

1990s: Development

New HQ

SAUDIA moves to its new premises in Jeddah in 1994


50 Years Old

SAUDIA celebrates its 50th anniversary in a ceremony on 27 May, 1995

Greater Fleet

61 of the latest B747s, B777s, MD-90s and MD-11 aircraft join SAUDIA’s fleet


Loyalty Program

Launches the Alfursan loyalty programme in 1995

2000s: Innovation


International Reach

SAUDIA carries a record 1.3+ million guests in one month and 14 million guests annually in 2003


Launching SAUDIA’s website to offer guests a technologically advanced travel experience in 2003


International Alliance

SAUDIA becomes the first airline in the Middle East to join the SkyTeam alliance in 2012

Employees Development

First batch of Future Pioneers program graduates to improve and develop employees’ skills and to prepare them to work in a professional work environment

Advanced Services

The birth of Saudi Ground Services Company to serve 28+ airports in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


International Award

SAUDIA becomes a Skytrax 4-star airline

The Top of the Top

The launch of the First Suite onboard


Holistic Travel Experience

Launching SAUDIA Holidays website to offer guests a comprehensive travel experience

The Youngest Fleet

151 new aircraft join SAUDIA’s fleet



Million passengers yearly
Daily flights

SAUDIA takes tremendous pride in being a global ambassador and a promoter of the Kingdom’s hospitable culture and traditions to millions around the globe by constantly increasing its fleet and improving its distinctive services at all times to accommodate the increasing numbers of guests.