Saudi Arabian Airlines will purchase 35 new aircraft shortly as part of its strategic plan to strengthen its domestic and international fleet networks, said its Director General Khaled Al-Molhem.
"We have received 68 of the 90 new aircraft, which we had ordered from Airbus and Boeing and are planning to buy 35 more," he said, indicating the new purchase would be done using own funds.
Al-Molhem's statement comes after the Cabinet urged the national carrier to increase its domestic flights and improve services to passengers.
According to the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), there was 19 percent increase in passengers traveling between Saudi cities. There were reports that the Saudi travel market faces a shortage of two million seats.
Saudia purchased a few years ago 90 new aircraft including Airbus and Boeing to modernize and beef up its fleet and meet marketing requirements. They include A330s and B777-300ERs.
"We are the only airline in the region that has allocated 65 percent of its flights to meet domestic requirements," the director general said, adding that Saudia was operating its domestic flights at lowest prices in the world without any profit.
He highlighted the progress achieved by Saudia over the past seven decades and its growing role in boosting the Kingdom's development.
"Last year we transported more than 24 million passengers on 170,000 flights," Al-Molhem said. "We operate about 500 flights and transport nearly 70,000 passengers daily," he added.
The Saudia chief said the airline's annual budgets have been reviewed by the board of directors and the Shoura Council and checked by well-known auditing offices following international standards. The Cabinet then endorses its budgets, he said.
Speaking about the organization's privatization program, he said: "We have already privatized the Catering, Cargo, Ground Services and the Saudia Aerospace Engineering Industries following a plan set by the Supreme Economic Council."
He said Saudia was instrumental in winning the confidence of its business partners as well as investors. "The 30 percent IPO of the Catering Company was subscribed by Saudis in a record time," he said, adding that the company's shares were making good profits on the bourse.
Al-Molhem said Saudia carried out one of the largest programs to train and qualify its workers by holding intensive training courses and sending some of them abroad for higher studies.
"We intend to transform Prince Sultan Aviation Academy in Jeddah into one of the leading aviation training centers in the world," he said.