Jeddah, SkyTeam the global airline alliance today announced, Saudia as its 16th member at a ceremony held in Jeddah. The flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, Saudia becomes SkyTeam’s first member airline from the Middle East and provides the alliance a network presence in the region. 

From the airline's hubs in Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam, Saudia operates a network throughout the Arabian Peninsula, the Indian Subcontinent and Northern Africa. Saudia adds 51 new destinations to SkyTeam’s global network, including 23 within Saudi Arabia. Examples of new destinations are: Islamabad, Pakistan; Colombo, Sri Lanka; and Alexandria, Egypt. 

“Saudia’s membership adds value to the alliance by opening up the considerable Saudi Arabian market to our customers,” said Michael Wisbrun, SkyTeam’s managing director. “We are responding to passenger demand for increased travel choice within the Middle East by adding a significant player from the region. This allows us to offer more destinations, while continuing our focus on enhancing products and services for our global customers.”

“Joining SkyTeam is an integral part of Saudia’s long-term transformation strategy, which includes rebranding our airline, restructuring core operations and enhancing onboard products and airport services,” said Khalid Al-Molhem, Saudia’s director general. “We are proud to become SkyTeam’s first Middle Eastern member and this milestone marks a momentous occasion in our airline’s history. We look forward to a bright future as a SkyTeam member, offering a greater worldwide network and benefits to our customers.”  

Prior to joining SkyTeam, Saudia launched  four-year turnaround program, target completion by 2013., The brand name "Saudia" was reintroduced, the airline’s name from 1972 to 1996, with other issues of Saudia’s transformation plan include modernizing  information technology infrastructure, commercial, operational and financial platforms and fleet renewal acquiring 90 new aircraft.

During the joining ceremony, Saudia unveiled two aircraft in the SkyTeam livery. The aircraft are a Boeing 777-200 (reg. HZ-AKC) utilized on routes to Dubai, London, New York and Guangzhou, in addition to an Airbus A320 (reg. HZ-ASF) utilized mainly on routes to Europe and the United Arab Emirates.