2006 News Story

Saudi startup airline Sama awarded license for domestic flights

The startup Saudi airline Sama has been awarded a national air carrier license to operate domestic flights in the Kingdom, a statement on the company’s website announced yesterday. The license was granted by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).

Two Boeing aircraft have already arrived in Saudi Arabia for the beginnings of Sama’s fleet, and two additional aircraft are expected this month.

“We look forward to bringing lower fares and a simpler flying experience to Saudi Arabia. We believe our services will further boost national tourism and create new job opportunities for Saudis,” Sama board member Hatim Mouminah said in the statement.

“Our priority is to serve as many cities in Saudi Arabia as we can with up to thirty five aircraft over the next few years. We look forward to announcing details of Sama destinations, flight times and fares shortly.”

Sama has signed up several key suppliers to make sure that safety and world class experience underpin the airline.

Sama was founded by Investment Enterprises Ltd, chaired by Prince Bandar bin Khalid al-Faisal, with the support of Mango Aviation Partners, a UK firm specializing in low fare airline startups. Initial investment was received from 30 major Saudi private and institutional investors.

According to Sama’s website, the name “Sama” was chosen because in Arabic it means to rise (high), to soar, tower up, go up, to be or to become elevated, high, exalted or sublime. Colloquially Sama also refers to the ‘sky’ or ‘majestic heavens.’