Riyadh: The Saudi Air Connectivity Program (ACP) and LOT Polish Airlines have signed an agreement to create air travel connections between Poland and Saudi Arabia for the first time, according to a press release from ACP. This collaboration will introduce a direct flight route connecting Warsaw and Riyadh, with ticket sales starting in June 2024.

 The announcement, said the release, took place at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Air Services Negotiation (ICAN2023) event in Riyadh, hosted by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).

 "Marking ACP's twelfth air connection from Europe to Saudi Arabia, the newly established route will be a key enabler to grow inbound visitation from Poland and increase connectivity with Eastern Europe via Warsaw. As demand for air travel from the EU to Saudi Arabia continues to increase, the route will stimulate growth in tourism, trade, and cultural exchange," said the release.

 The ACP's collaboration with LOT Polish Airlines marks its third international partnership with an air carrier. This program follows previous collaborations with Hainan Airlines and Wizz Air. These partnerships align with the program's objective of expanding routes and increasing capacity to meet the rising demand for inbound tourism in Saudi Arabia.

 With inbound passenger numbers from Poland to the Kingdom up 43% in 2023 (year-on-year), the Warsaw-Riyadh route will feature three weekly flights, totalling 156 roundtrip flights annually. It will accommodate 58,968 seats annually on LOT's Boeing 787-8 aircraft.

 ACP CEO Ali Rajab said: "The collaboration between ACP and LOT Polish Airlines is a significant step forward in our efforts to advance air connectivity in the Kingdom. Through this partnership, we're not only connecting two cities but also creating a gateway for Polish travellers to explore the unique experiences Saudi Arabia has to offer."

 He added: "The new Warsaw-Riyadh route aligns perfectly with ACP's goals of expanding air networks with the European market and providing seamless travel experiences for passengers. We look forward to working with LOT Polish Airlines and welcoming Polish visitors to embark on their own journeys of discovery."

 CEO of LOT Polish Airlines commented: "The opening of Saudi Arabia to tourism is a source of joy, and the best evidence is the agreement on direct air connections between Saudi Arabia and Poland. I believe Riyadh will be an interesting destination for those who like to discover new, unexpected places. In less than 7 hours spent on board the Dreamliner PLL LOT, our passengers will be able to discover new, inspiring landmarks."

 In line with Saudi Vision 2030, the Kingdom is "drastically scaling up its air route capacity, aiming to increase accessibility and become a leading aviation hub in the Middle East. The Ministry of Tourism has expanded e-visa eligibility to visitors from six new countries, bringing the total to 63," the release said.