Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Saudia: Seasonal Service to Orlando, 1994

Reprint of: "Saudi Airline Plans Seasonal Flights To Orlando International"
published on June 21, 1994, written by Jerry Jackson for the Orlando Sentinel:

Saudia Airlines, the flagship airline of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will begin flying into Orlando via New York on July 4, Orlando International Airport officials said Monday.

Flights using Boeing 747-300 aircraft will operate twice a week from Jeddah and Riyadh, to Orlando International Airport with a brief stop at New York's Kennedy International Airport.

Saudia's flights initially are scheduled to operate through September, primarily for the summer tourism season in Florida. But airport officials said they hope the route will be successful and that service will be extended.

''Saudia is the flagship carrier for Saudia Arabia and the only airline offering nonstop service from the U.S. to the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia,'' said Keith Phildius, senior vice president for international development and marketing for Orlando International.

It is the second airline from the Mideast to announce seasonal service to Orlando in the past six months. In January, El Al Israel Airline launched twice weekly service to Orlando International through Feb. 20 and the end of the pilgrimage season to the Holy Land.

Also this year, Aeroflot Russian International Airlines began regularly scheduled service between Moscow and Orlando on a test basis.

''I think it says a lot that within a two or three-month period of time, two of the world's renowned airlines - Aeroflot and Saudia - are coming to Orlando. It's good news,'' Phildius said.

More than a dozen airlines provide regularly scheduled international service to 20 destinations from Orlando. Another 40 charter airlines fly frequently between scores of other foreign cities and Orlando.

Airport officials said the decision by Saudia Airlines to fly to Orlando, shuttling tourists and business travelers to Central Florida, helps Orlando stretch its vision as an international center.

''This goes beyond our traditional markets of Latin America and Europe,'' said Carolyn Fennell, a spokeswoman for the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.

A representative of Saudia Airlines could not be reached Monday, and Orlando airport officials had no further details about the service.

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