Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAA) is planning to ban smoking on all its flights, international
as well as domestic. As from September 1, 1999, SAA is implementing the first stage of the
plan, affecting Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) destinations. The second stage, scheduled to
begin December 1, 1999, will cover flights bound for Middle East destinations, including
Damascus, Sanaa, Beirut, and Amman, and certain African destinations such as Cairo,
Khartoum, Asmara and Addis Ababa. The third and last stage will start effective June 1,
2000, and consists of a partial ban on SAA flights bound for more distant locations such as
New York and Bombay, with only 25 percent of the seats reserved for smokers.
SAA was one of the first airlines to implement a smoking ban on its flights. More than ten
years ago, SAA prohibited smoking on direct domestic flights under two hours in duration.
This step was followed by an increase in the number of seats allocated for non-smokers in
both domestic and international flights to over 60 percent.