, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 11 – Saudi Arabian Airlines has signed an agreement to join SkyTeam in 2012.
The airline will be SkyTeam\’s first member from the Middle East, adding 35 new destinations to the alliance network.
Saudi Arabian Airlines complements the SkyTeam network by offering customers access to destinations across the Middle East not currently served by SkyTeam members.
Through Saudi Arabia\’s major hubs of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, travellers can connect to new destinations on the Arabian Peninsula, the Indian subcontinent and Northern Africa.
SkyTeam members will have access to new potential customers from the region as Saudi Arabian Airlines offers direct flights to Europe, Asia, Africa and the USA.
Customers can transfer to SkyTeam partner flights via major hubs in the world such as Paris, Rome, Nairobi and New York.
Saudi Arabian Airlines is fully focused on its four-year turnaround program to be completed by 2013.
Key elements of this plan include modernisation of its infrastructure, restructuring of its domestic and international network and implementing its fleet modernization plan through the purchase of the most advanced aircraft.
Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Eng. Khalid Al-Molhem, remarked that joining SkyTeam would add value to the carrier\’s services.
"The SkyTeam network provides our customers with excellent connections to most parts of the world, through the exchange of services and knowledge between all member airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines can achieve qualitative improvements, made available to our customers. These include airport services, ground services and First and Business Class passenger lounges," he said.
Leo van Wijk, Chairman of SkyTeam, said: "Saudi Arabian Airlines is a significant player in the Middle East and covers a considerable part of the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian subcontinent. Its membership in SkyTeam will enable us to compete more efficiently within the region."
SkyTeam currently has 14 members with another 5 members from Asia by the end of 2012.