Philippine Airlines & Saudi Arabian Airlines Boost Middle East Flights

As the number of Filipinos living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues to rise, air capacity between the two nations is expected to see a boost in the coming year. Saudi Arabian Airlines and Philippine Airlines, the national flag carriers of the Philippines and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have both revealed that they will be increasing flights between the two countries.

saudia 747
Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is presently home to approximately 700,000 Filipinos creating a captive market for the national carriers. Philippine Airlines is planning to boost capacity between the two countries by three additional flights beginning in December.

On December 9, Philippine Airlines plans to add two weekly flights between Manila and Dammam, while an additional flight will be added between Manila and Riyadh on December 15. This brings the total number of weekly flights up to ten from the existing seven. In addition, Philippine Airlines hopes to increase service to Jeddah by adding three more weekly flights early in 2015. 

a330 philippine airlines
Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
Meanwhile, Saudi flag carrier, Saudi Arabian Airlines, plans to start flying twice daily to Manila beginning in the first quarter of 2015.  According to the carrier, which recently opened a new office in Makati City, the Philippines is an important market for Saudi Arabian Airlines given the large number of Filipinos living and working in the country.

"Manila is considered as one of the airline's most important stations," said Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, Saudi Arabian Airlines Director General. The new office in Makati is located in the Zuellig Building and was designed by Saudi engineers to reflect the latest architectural standards and designs.

Abdul Aziz Al-Hazmi, CEO of Saudi Arabian Airlines was on hand at the opening of the new Makati office. "Our new strategy is to keep all departments including sales, marketing, reservation, and finance under one roof for the benefit of passengers and visitors," said Al-Hazmi. He added that flights between the two countries will be upgraded from the current Boeing 747-400 to a Boeing 777-300ER.

"Saudi Arabian Airlines B777-300ER Economy Cabin"
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Saudi Arabian Airlines first began flying between the two countries in 1982 with just two flights per week. The airline currently operates the highest number of flights between the two countries. Earlier this year, Cebu Pacific entered the Saudi Arabian market, introducing the first long-haul, low-cost flights.

In October, the Philippines' largest low-cost carrier began three weekly non-stop flights between Manila and Riyadh every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. The carrier also launched flights between Manila and Dammam every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday. By introducing lower fares to the market, Cebu Pacific hopes to stimulate demand enabling overseas Filipinos to fly home more frequently.

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