(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi Arabian Airlines, which recently joined the global SkyTeam alliance, has launched its three-month-long summer plan offering more flights to major domestic and international destinations including New York, Washington, London, Paris, Kuala Lumpur and Geneva to meet the rush of peak holiday season.
The summer season began last Wednesday when it operated 504 flights, including 328 in the domestic sector and 147 international flights with 19 flights for Umrah passengers. It operated 486 flights on Thursday, 492 on Friday and 485 on Saturday.
"We have completed all preparations for the summer season," said Director General Khaled Al-Molhem. The plan covers the peak Umrah season during Ramadan as well as Eid Al-Fitr holidays," he pointed out. The Saudia chief described the summer season as a big challenge for the airline.
Al-Molhem has instructed his airport managers to open special counters for passengers of delayed flights. "Passengers should be given information about their flights transparently," he said.
As part of preparations for the season, Saudia has increased the number of employees at its call center to enable passengers to make quick reservations and purchase tickets. "We also offer a number of self-service facilities through Saudia website and self-service machines at airports and malls," he said.
He hoped that passengers would make use of the airline's electronic self-service facilities for booking, purchasing ticket and selecting seats and meals. "We have installed 87 machines to issue boarding passes at airports and other places," he said. As many as 658,614 boarding passes have been issued through these machines in the first quarter of this year.
"We have contracted with a specialized company to install 200 new machines to issue ticket and boarding passes. They will be installed shortly at shopping centers and highways. We are happy to learn that more and more passengers are making use of our electronic services," Al-Molhem said.
Saudia will operate more flights from Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam to some Saudi cities to meet growing demand of passengers. Flights between Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Madinah, Taif and Tabuk have been increased by 9.7 percent as the national carrier will operate 159 flights weekly including 76 between Riyadh and Abha, 59 between Jeddah and Abha, providing a total of 20,790 seats in a week.
Flights from Riyadh and Jeddah to Baha have been increased by 14.3 percent to 32 flights weekly offering 4,224 seats, up 16.4 percent compared to last year. It has allocated 30 flights weekly between Riyadh and Taif, offering 3,960 seats while flights from the three main cities to Qassim rose by 17.9 percent to 46 flights, offering 5,049 seats.
Saudia's weekly flights from Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Madinah and Abha to Tabuk have been increased by 26.8 percent to 71 flights, offering 9,726 seats. Flights to Hail from the three hubs rose by 25.8 percent to 39 weekly, offering 5,181 seats. It will operate 19 flights weekly to Qaisuma from Riyadh and Jeddah.
Saudia's summer plan offers 28 flights weekly to Yanbu, 36 to Al-Jouf, 32 to Bisha, 17 to Wadi Al-Dawasser, 16 to Gurayat, 14 flights to Sharourah and 19 flights to Arar from Riyadh and Jeddah, the airline said. There will be 54 flights weekly with 5,676 seats to Najran and 64 flights with 10,116 seats to Jazan from the three hubs.
Saudia will operate 12 flights weekly from Riyadh and Jeddah to New York and Washington during this summer offering 3,744 seats. There will be eight flights weekly to Paris from Riyadh and Jeddah offering 2,384 seats, six flights to Milan, six flights to Frankfurt and 11 flights to Geneva. It will operate 14 flights weekly from Riyadh, Jeddah and Madinah to Istanbul offering 3,010 seats.
As London being one of the major tourist destinations of Saudis, the airline will operate 13 flights from Riyadh and Jeddah to the British capital, offering a total of 4,056 seats. It plans to operate 12 flights weekly to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, offering 4,956 seats, 69 flights to Dubai with 13,370 seats, eight flights to Addis Ababa and four flights to Tunis.