Air Travel

The Kingdom has three international airports: King Khalid International in Riyadh, King Fahd International in Dhahran and the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.

Plans are underway to convert the Prince Muhammad bin Abdulaziz Airport in Madinah into an international airport. There are also 24 regional and local airports.

Saudi Arabia’s national airline, Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAA), started out in 1945 with the gift of a single twin-engine DC-3 Dakota from President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The airline now has a fleet of around 140 aircraft with flights to cities within Saudi Arabia and around the world. It continues to expand its fleet, recently purchasing 15 regional aircraft from the Brazilian company Embraer.

Saudi Arabian Airlines carries around 15 million passengers annually, one third of them international flights. Almost half of SAA’s 2,000 pilots are Saudi.

Saudi Arabia has made a special effort to expand its air transport facilities to accommodate the some two million Muslim pilgrims to come to the Kingdom each year.

The King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah is a center for pilgrims arriving for the hajj and has a dedicated pilgrim terminal. Plans are underway to expand the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah to include another Hajj terminal, and to build an additional runway and terminals at the Madinah airport.

In addition, Saudi Arabian Airlines runs extra flights during the hajj to accommodate the large number of pilgrims who travel to the Kingdom by air.