Jan 29 2013
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British Airways plans expansion in Saudi Arabia, Mideast in 2013
Paolo De Renzis, area commercial manager, Middle East and Central Asia, also talked about British Airways' growth in 2012, which included launching routes to new destinations such as Seoul in Korea, resuming flights to several destinations including Libya, Jordan and Lebanon, and completing the airline's integration with bmi.
From the start of the summer 2013 schedule British Airways will serve Saudi Arabia 14 times a week with daily services to Riyadh and Jeddah. British Airways flies to more than 175 destinations from London. The full timetable is available at ba.com. From the start of the summer 2013 season British Airways' Jeddah service will become daily, while in Kuwait the airline will be increasing capacity by 21 per cent by using a larger aircraft on the route.
Those travelling on routes served by British Airways' 777 aircraft - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Muscat, Doha and Bahrain - will notice the complete refurbishment of all four cabins.
The multi-million pound refurbishment, which will be completed in summer 2013, will feature more comfortable seats, brighter, more contemporary cabins and bigger, high-resolution widescreens featuring the latest in-flight entertainment system.
Touching on British Airways' global growth, De Renzis said: "Beyond the Middle East, 2013 holds many exciting developments for British Airways' global network, including the arrival of nine new aircraft. We have also already announced new flights from London Heathrow to a range of destinations, from Ibiza to Chengdu in China."
In addition to growing the airline's network with its own direct flights, British Airways customers will also continue to benefit from the airline's strategic partnerships - such as with American Airlines and Iberia.
Thanks to this joint partnership British Airways is now able to offer more flights than any other alliance between the US and the UK - more than 400 flights per week in each direction. Between the US and Europe as a whole, the three airlines combined operate nearly 600 flights per week in each direction.
Referring to the airline's success in the Middle East region in particular, De Renzis said: "2012 was a big year for British Airways globally, and in the Middle East especially, where we celebrated 80 years of flying to the region. The Middle East and particularly Saudi Arabia is one of the most prosperous regions in the world, and has a healthy state of finances which makes it an attractive destination for business and leisure travellers. This is reflected in the increased demand for travel to Saudi Arabia in particular, and the Middle East as a whole, to which we have responded with an increase in our flights."
British Airways recently increased capacity on its Dubai service by using a larger aircraft for the route, and also increased capacity on its Riyadh route by more than 1,000 seats a week. The Riyadh service also benefited from a new schedule, which means better timings for Saudi customers arriving in London for business, and those connecting to North American flights.
Talking about the airline's growth in the region, De Renzis said: "The current winter season has been one of our best and we have invested in our Middle East routes as a result. It is not difficult to see why the Middle East, and Saudi Arabia especially, is an important market for British Airways and forms a major part of our growth strategy.
In 2013 we are committed to building on our 80-year heritage here, and will be investing even more in the region, particularly in Saudi Arabia."
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