Saudia Marks 35 Years of Connecting the Kingdom and Washington

Saudia, the national flag carrier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, celebrated 35 years of flights between the Kingdom and Washington on February 1, 2024. The airline commemorated this milestone by distributing souvenir gifts to passengers at the departure gate at Washington Dulles International Airport, and by honoring a long-serving employee who was present at the first flight in 1988.

The first flight of Saudia from the Kingdom to Washington took place on January 31, 1988, marking a new era of air connectivity between the two nations. The flight was operated by a Boeing 747-200, and carried 350 passengers, including dignitaries, media representatives, and business leaders. The flight was welcomed by a water cannon salute and a ceremony at the airport, attended by officials from both countries.

Hisham Khalifa, the Lead Agent for Customer Services, was one of the employees who was part of the inaugural flight. He received a Certificate of Appreciation from Khaled Alehedeb, the Regional Saudia Manager for North and South America, during the anniversary event on board the aircraft. Mr. Alehedeb said, “It is very fitting that we recognize an employee who is still with us after 35 years, on a day when we celebrate the first flight to arrive in this wonderful city, 35 years ago.” He added that this reflects Saudia’s commitment to both its customers and its staff.

A Key Role in Enhancing Relations and Supporting Sectors

Since the launch of flights to Washington in 1988, Saudia’s air connectivity has played a key role in enhancing relations between the two nations and reinforcing vital sectors, such as business, tourism, and finance. The airline has also expanded its services to offer excellent travel experiences to students studying abroad in Washington and their families, as well as to Muslim community members traveling to the Hajj and Umrah.

Saudia transported more than 152,800 passengers on 665 flights between the Kingdom and Washington in 2023. The airline currently operates 14 weekly flights, including eight flights to and from Jeddah and six flights from Riyadh. The flights are operated by Saudia’s Boeing 777, which features fully enclosed first class suites for a superior travel experience.

A Leading Airline in the Region and the World

Saudia is the national flag carrier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Established in 1945, the company has quickly become one of the region’s largest airlines. The airline serves an extensive global network that covers all 28 domestic airports in Saudi Arabia and about 100 destinations across four continents.

Saudia recently received the “World Class Airlines 2024” award for the second consecutive time at the APEX Official Airline Ratings awards. The airline also moved up 11 positions in the Skytrax World’s Best Airlines 2023 ranking. According to a report by Cirium, the airline also ranked first among international airlines for best on-time performance (OTP).

For more information about Saudia, please visit

Category: Aviation

Meta Description: A news article about Saudia’s 35th anniversary of flights between the Kingdom and Washington, highlighting its role and achievements in the aviation sector.

Slug: saudia-35-years-kingdom-washington-flights

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *