Saudi airline to restart direct Jeddah flights

SAUDI Arabia’s national carrier, Saudia Airlines, is to restart direct flights between Manchester and Jeddah after a seven-year absence.

The route will being in March and will operate three times a week from April, the airline said.

Ken O’Toole, chief commercial officer at Manchester Airports Group (MAG), said: “We are delighted to welcome Saudia Airlines back to Manchester Airport with their introduction of Jeddah services. The introduction of the new three weekly Jeddah route will further strengthen the Middle East connections from Manchester and sees another direct long haul service added to our network of connections.

“The introduction of this route is testament to the strength of Manchester airport’s catchment and we look forward to this direct service supporting the strong commercial, ethnic and educational relationships that exist between Saudi Arabia and the North West.”

Rashid Alajmi, general manager for the European region at Saudia Airlines said: “We are very happy that our plans to return to Manchester have now come to fruition, and that we are now able to offer North West customers a non-stop service to Saudi Arabia.

“Commercial ties between the North of England and Saudi Arabia have traditionally been very strong and this new service will give business customers in the region the opportunity to travel to Saudi Arabia without having to transfer en-route.

“The North of England’s large Muslim population will also benefit from this new Manchester to Jeddah service when travelling to perform their religious pilgrimages of Hajj and Umrah. The flight is so timed that they can reach the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina at the most convenient time.

“The many Saudi students who choose the North of England to further their studies in one of the region’s many fine educational establishments, will find that using the our service from Manchester Airport will be the easiest and most comfortable way home,” he added.

The flights will depart from Manchester Airport’s terminal two on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sunday starting from March 28th.

Carriers such as Germany’s Lufthansa have previously reported strong demand from the North West from Muslim pilgrims travelling to Mecca and Medina from Manchester via Frankfurt.