Qatar Airways has launched services to Yanbu, its ninth destination in Saudi Arabia, as it continues to grow its network in the kingdom.
The Doha-based carrier will operate three weekly flights to Yanbu now, which will increase to four from June 23, it has said in a press statement.
Passengers travelling to and from the sea port city will experience Qatar Airways’ five-star service and have the opportunity to explore Hamad International Airport, the airline’s hub in Doha, before continuing their journey to any of Qatar Airways’ 150-plus global destinations, the statement notes.
Qatar Airways inaugural flight QR1216, which landed at Prince Abdulmohsin Bin Abdulaziz Airport in Yanbu at 3.35pm on Tuesday, was welcomed with a traditional water salute.
The airport ceremony was attended by Qatar Airways acting chief commercial officer Ehab Amin, who was greeted by the governor of Yanbu, Musaed bin Yahya al-Saleem, and director of Western Airports, Suliman al-Rawaf, followed by an exchange of gifts in the presence of local officials.
On its three weekly flights to and from Yanbu, the airline will fly the A320 aircraft, featuring a two-class cabin configuration with 12 seats in First Class and 132 in Economy.
Qatar Airways operates 151 weekly flights to key cities in Saudi Arabia. The addition of Yanbu will increase the number of Qatar Airways weekly services to Saudi Arabia to 154 non-stop flights. Additional frequency to Yanbu will commence on June 23.
Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar al-Baker said, "As our ninth destination in the kingdom, Yanbu will bring additional flexibility for passengers connecting from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. Passengers departing from Yanbu will now be able to travel seamlessly through our state-of-the-art Doha hub, Hamad International Airport, to more than 150 destinations. At the same time, this will provide passengers travelling to Saudi Arabia from international markets with the convenience of another gateway in the kingdom.”
Al-Rawaf welcomed Qatar Airways’ inaugural flight at Prince Abdulmohsin Bin Abdulaziz Airport in Yanbu and said he looked forward to establishing a fruitful relationship with the airline.
"Yanbu airport is witnessing a notable growth in the number of international flights, with about 650,000 passengers served in 2016 on board 5,392 flights. We have completed preparations to increase the airport’s ability to receive even more international flights, including inbound flights from neighbouring countries in the region. These efforts are part of the country's aspiration to achieve the ambitious Saudi Vision 2030,” al-Rawaf said.
These efforts fall within the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA)’s strategy and are in compliance with the directives of Minister of Transport Sulaiman al-Hamdan, under the support and follow-up of Tariq Abduljabbar, GACA deputy assistant for Domestic Airports, and Capt Abdul Hakeem al-Badr, assistant to GACA's president for Safety, Security and Air Transport, as well as the efforts of all officials concerned with the authority and all ministries and partners involved in the airport services, the statement notes.
He lauded the support of Madinah governor Prince Faisal bin Salman and the Yanbu governor.
The city of Yanbu is located in Al Madinah province of Western Saudi Arabia, which has been gaining popularity in the region as a tourist destination. One of its main attractions is a natural harbour protected by coral reefs, making it an optimum diving spot.
Besides Yanbu, Qatar Airways flies to Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam, Madinah, Gassim, Ta’if, Al Hofuf and Abha in Saudi Arabia, all non-stop flights to and from Doha.