Saudi Arabia’s national carrier will launch flights to Birmingham later this year, according to a statement by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

SPA said that SAUDIA had collaborated with the Saudi Air Connectivity Program and Saudi Tourism Authority to launch routes to Beijing, Birmingham, Johannesburg and Kano in Nigeria.

Launch dates and schedules have yet to be confirmed, but SPA said that the news represented “a significant expansion programme for 2023”, and “is in line with the program’s objective of enhancing the Kingdom’s point-to-point air connectivity and its reach to target international markets”.

SAUDIA currently operates flights from London Heathrow to King Khalid International airport in Riyadh, as well as routes from Heathrow and Manchester to Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International airport.

Saudi Arabia recently launched a new free Stopover Visa for those transiting the kingdom onboard either Saudia or Flynas, entitling passengers to stay in the country for up to 96 hours.

New Saudi Stopover Visa offers free hotel stay

Commenting on the news Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO and member of the board of Saudi Tourism Authority, said:

“Today’s announcement of four new routes demonstrates the power of the tourism ecosystem to work with airline partners to bring new capacity online.

“Through cross-government collaboration, we are continuing to build ease and connectivity to transform Saudi into a top tourism destination and meet our ambitious target to welcome 100m visits by 2030.

“This is significant as direct flight options are not only good news for international travellers but also create growth, opportunity, and investment in Saudi and across the world.”