Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, carried 5.1 million guests in the first quarter of 2022, according to the airline’s performance report, which represents an increase of 75 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2021.

The report highlights that Saudia operated more than 40,000 flights in Q1, up 44 per cent compared to Q1 2021. The airline’s fleet of 144 aircraft flew more than 101,600 hours during the first quarter, an increase of 77% over the same period last year.

Saudi Arabian Airlines CEO, Capt. Ibrahim Koshy, said: “The strong traffic results represent the culmination of the efforts of the airline’s staff, who have been the driving force behind the airline’s comeback to pre-COVID levels of activity.

“As demand returned, our strong airline business fundamentals have translated into a significant improvement in our performance. This achievement has been made possible by the commitment of our hardworking employees combined with our business agility.”

His Excellency Eng. Ibrahim Al-Omar, Director General of the Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation, added: “As the momentum for travel continues to build, we will increase frequencies and introduce new destinations on our network during 2022. This strategy is especially important in light of the Kingdom’s megaprojects and transformation agenda for the tourism industry, as we continue to serve as the ‘Wings of Vision 2030’ and welcome the world to Saudi Arabia.”

The first three months of this year saw Saudi play host to several entertainment and cultural events, delivering a “strong uptick” in passenger numbers said the carrier.

Saudia recently announced several new destinations to its global network in anticipation of a busy summer, including Bangkok, Barcelona, Malaga, Marrakech, Moscow, Seoul, Entebbe, Amsterdam, Chicago, and Mykonos. Additionally, the national carrier plans to add extra flights and seats where necessary to cater to soaring demand.