SAUDIA to launch routes from Birmingham

The national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, SAUDIA has collaborated with the Saudi Air Connectivity Program (ACP) and Saudi Tourism Authority, to launch four new international destinations: Birmingham, Beijing, Kano (Nigeria) and Johannesburg.

Representing a significant expansion programme for 2023, the route development follows the national carrier’s signing of an agreement with ACP, and is in line with the program’s objective of enhancing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s point-to-point air connectivity and its reach to target international markets.

Ali Rajab, CEO of ACP said

The opening of four new air routes across three different regions is the result of strong collaboration between the Saudi tourism and aviation ecosystems. We are proud to have been part of these efforts. These new routes offer a diverse mix of travel opportunities in the Kingdom, unlocking its rich cultural heritage and inviting travelers from around the world to experience the beauty and diversity of this remarkable destination.

Air connectivity will play an increasingly important role in enabling tourism growth and creating new opportunities for businesses and tourists alike. We look forward to building on this momentum to unlock new destinations, and create a brighter future for the Kingdom.

Capt. Ibrahim Koshy, CEO of SAUDIA, highlighted the airline’s ongoing commitment to investing in operational expansion. He said,

We are dedicated to continue optimizing our modern fleet to meet current and future expansion requirements. In addition to the recent launch of the new service “Your Ticket, Your Visa” which is the first of its kind in the world has increased airline’s competitive position with a market share of 40% for flights and seat capacity in the past year.

Koshy also stressed the importance of initiatives aimed at increasing SAUDIA’s international market share, simplifying and facilitating travel procedures, and enhancing the travel experience for guests, all of which are designed to increasing the Saudi Arabia’s air connectivity.

The new direct flight routes are said to have been launched as a response to the uptick in consumer demand from travellers looking to visit or transit through Saudi from Birmingham, Beijing, Kano and Johannesburg.

Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO and Member of the Board of Saudi Tourism Authority said,

[The] announcement of four new routes demonstrates the power of the tourism ecosystem to work with airline partners to bring new capacity online. Through cross-government collaboration, we are continuing to build ease and connectivity to transform Saudi and meet our ambitious target to welcome 100m visits by 2030. This is significant as direct flight options are not only good news for international travellers but also create growth, opportunity and investment in Saudi and across the world.

Birmingham Airport recently marked the ten millionth customer flying through the airport in the financial year.

10,000,000: passengers named as Tony and Jen were awarded two business class flights on Turkish Airlines when they became the 10,000,000th customers to use Birmingham Airport in the financial year

New name revealed for West Coast Main Line rail company

Avanti West Coast will be the name of the new InterCity West Coast rail franchise, FirstGroup and Trenitalia have revealed.

From 8 December 2019, FirstGroup and Trenitalia will take over the operation of InterCity West Coast rail services. The service will link London to cities and towns across England, North Wales and Scotland, serving as a “vital economic artery bringing cities and people closer together”.

The Avanti West Coast logo, created by design agency forpeople, is a bright orange triangle, symbolising the geographic extent of the 400-mile long route that serves cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow as well as London and North Wales.

Avanti is Italian for “Forward!”

Under the new West Coast Partnership, First Trenitalia is committed to delivering a range of passenger enhancements for InterCity West Coast services and passengers will benefit from more trains, more seats, simplified fares and more frequent services.

56 Pendolino trains will be completely refurbished with 25,000 brand new seats, more reliable Wi-Fi and improved catering. By 2022, there will be 263 more train services every week to more places and a fleet of new trains introduced.

Fares and ticket types will be simplified with mobile tickets and smartcards introduced. Stations will be improved with refreshed waiting rooms, better customer facilities, more car parking spaces and greater accessibility for those who need it. 

Speaking at the launch of the new brand, Steve Montgomery, Managing Director of First Rail, one of the UK’s most experienced rail operators, said:

We’re looking forward to taking over the franchise and we are very pleased and proud to be working with Trenitalia, a strong partner who is committed to playing an increasing role in UK rail and has many years of expertise in the high speed sector in Italy.

We are committed to our customers and over the next few years, we will work with our industry and local partners not only to invest in, and improve, rail services on the route, but also to attract more people to rail and connect communities across the country.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management, said:

These exciting investment plans on the West Coast Main Line will be a huge benefit to a lot of passengers.  And, with improved Wi-Fi and better catering, rail will become an attractive option for business travel between London, the north west of England and Scotland.

At Global Travel Management, we are looking forward to the feedback our clients give us on this new rail operator and we are excited to be able to add Avanti West Coast to the range of domestic and international rail services we provide.

You can book rail journeys on GTM Online or by contacting your GTM Account Manager.

KLM To Launch Flights From Manston.

KLM is to begin a new service from Manston Airport in eastern Kent to Amsterdam Schiphol on the 2nd April.

The Dutch carrier will offer twice daily flights from Manston to Schiphol, from where passengers can then connect to over 150 destinations worldwide. KLM will operate Fokker 70 jets with capacity for up to 80 passengers on the new route. The aircraft will feature both business class and economy.

KLM now offers 17 departure airports in Great Britain from where pasengers can connect, via Amsterdam Schiphol, to the airline’s worldwide route network. The airports are: Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Durham Tees Valley, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Humberside, Inverness, Leeds, London (Heathrow & City),
Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Southampton and now Manston in Kent. Quite a list!