[03 May 2018] Following the first official meeting between the delegation for the International Air Transport Association (IATA) led by Mr. Mohammed Albakri, IATA Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East and the delegation of SaudiGulf Airlines led by Mr Tarik Abdulhadi Al Qahtani, Chairman of Al Qahtani Aviation and SaudiGulf Airlines, Mr. Albakri formally presented to SaudiGulf Airlines the certificate for the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and certificate of SaudiGulf Airlines membership of IATA in the presence of local and regional press.

“Saudi Arabia and IATA are intertwined in a strong and historical relationship. We are extremely happy to welcome our second Saudi airline, SaudiGulf, to the IATA family and into the fold of IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registered airlines. Passing IOSA, which is a pre-requisite for IATA membership, is a significant achievement for SaudiGulf which only started operating in late 2016,” said Muhammad Albakri.

Chairman Tarik Al Qahtani, expressed the appreciation of the SaudiGulf Airlines Board of Directors to the Executive Management and staff of SaudiGulf Airlines, headed by Samer Majali and his Deputy, Abdulmohsen Jonaid for their momentous achievement in obtaining these two important certificates in a record time and for being the second Saudi national carrier to obtain these certifications. Chairman Tarik also express his gratitude to IATA and the Saudi General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) for their guidance and support during the process.

From his side, SaudiGulf CEO, Samer Majali said, “The successful launch of the airline as a full service carrier has witnessed an elevated level of passenger satisfaction. And now, with the achievement of IOSA certification and IATA membership, SaudiGulf Airlines will continue to enhance services and products to offer our travelers a unique experience to more destinations in Saudi Arabia and other regional destinations, such as our recent launch of international services to Dubai.”

Speaking about the local and regional market and the industry in general, Mr. Albakri said, “Over the next 20 years the number of air passengers travelling to, from and within Saudi Arabia is expected to increase at an average annual rate of just over 4% per year. This represents an additional 72 million passenger journeys per year in 20 years’ time compared with now. We look forward to serving SaudiGulf and our other member airlines in Saudi Arabia support this growth as we work to tackle the range of broad and complex issues facing aviation regionally and globally.”

Majali further added, “The airline currently operates its fleet of brand new A320 aircraft offering a total of 24,000 seats weekly from their Dammam hub to Jeddah, Riyadh and Abha domestically, and from Riyadh to Dubai.”

Confirming the potential presented in Mr. Albakri’s statement, Mr. Majali stated that SaudiGulf’s strategic plan calls for a gradual expansion of SaudiGulf’s domestic and international network from their Dammam hub with a plan to increase their fleet size to more than 30 aircraft over the next several years.