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Saudia to acquire 20 Airbus A321neo aircraft by 2026

The aircraft provides a new level of comfort, carrying 180 to 220 passengers in a conventional two-class interior configuration. Reuters/File
The aircraft provides a new level of comfort, carrying 180 to 220 passengers in a conventional two-class interior configuration. Reuters/File
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02 Aug 2023 02:08:58 GMT9
02 Aug 2023 02:08:58 GMT9

Arab News

RIYADH: As part of its drive to meet growing demand, the Kingdom’s national carrier Saudia plans to add 20 fuel-efficient Airbus A321neo aircraft to its fleet by 2026.

The aircraft carry 180 to 220 passengers in a conventional two-class interior configuration, and is part of the A320 family — the world’s most widely used single-aisle aircraft family.

Entering global services in 2016, the A320 family has saved 20 million tons of carbon dioxide by incorporating new fuel-efficient engines, cabin innovations, and wing tips known as Sharklets which reduce drag caused by lift. 

It was this ability to run on significantly less fuel that attracted the aircraft to Saudia.

“Our priority is to offer the best guest experience possible and to bring the world to Saudi Arabia, and we will continue to purchase state-of-the-art aircraft from the world’s top manufacturers to deliver on that promise,” CEO of Saudia Ibrahim Koshy said. 

He added: “We commend Airbus for continuously looking to improve the performance of their aircraft, which goes in line with Saudia’s ambition to provide the best guests experience possible while contributing to make aviation more sustainable.” 

The A320neo operate with a 20 percent decrease in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared to prior generation aircraft, as well as a 50 percent decline in noise footprint, a 5 percent drop in airframe maintenance costs, and a 14 percent cutback in cash operating expenses per sea.

The partnership between Saudia and Airbus aligns with the Saudi Aviation Strategy objectives, which aims to establish the Kingdom as a market leader in the sector by promoting customer satisfaction, boosting safety and fostering environmental sustainability. 

The strategy also supports Saudia’s plans for growth as the airline strives to welcome 330 million tourists to the Kingdom by 2030. 

The airline’s fleet, which includes models from Boeing and Airbus, has grown to a total of 140 aircraft in the first half of 2023. 

Furthermore, Saudia was placed 23rd in Skytrax’s list of the world’s top airlines for 2023, owing to the rapid expansion of its international network.

The full-service airline rose 11 spots from last year’s ranking of 34, making it one of the region’s fastest-growing carriers.

According to Saudia’s performance report released in July, over 13.7 million guests were transported on both domestic and international routes, recording a 24 percent growth in the first half of 2023, compared to the same period last year.

The increase came through 85,400 flights, representing 6 percent growth, in addition to a 22 percent rise in flying hours to a total of 261,600 hours.

International transported guests reached a total of 7.4 million in the first half of 2023, representing a 52 percent increase.

Furthermore, the airline conducted 37,600 intenational flights, indicating a 30 percent expansion.

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