Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), with the Royal Commission for AlUla and the French Agency for the Development of AlUla (AFALULA) has announced the resumption of a weekly direct flight between Paris CDG and AlUla.

The flight will be every Sunday from December 4, 2022 to March 12, 2023. The route will allow French travellers to reach AlUla in only five hours, with all the comfort provided by the Boeing 787 "Dreamliner".

Announced as part of AlUla’s participating in the World Travel Market, London this week, the route represents an incomparable opportunity for French travellers to immerse themselves in the desert city of AlUla, an ancient oasis located on the incense route with 7,000 years of successive civilisations.

Unique site

AlUla is a unique site that was home to some of the most important civilisations of the region - the Dadanites, the Lihyanites, the Nabataeans, and the Romans. Among the must-see, Unesco World Heritage Site of Hegra, the southern capital of the Nabatean Empire, are many other archaeological sites dating back to the first millennium BCE.

Beyond its rich heritage, AlUla also offers stunning natural landscapes, ochre sandstone canyons and amazing rock formations, basaltic plateaus and golden sands, and a lush green oasis stretching for miles running through the city.

French connections to AlUla are strong. The Dominican fathers and exploders Antonin Jaussen and Raphaël Savignac produced some of the earliest pictures of the region in 1909. Today teams of French archaeologists are working to uncover more AlUla’s mysteries. French artists and musicians have also left their marks in the region in recent years with exceptional concerts and performances or unique art projects. AFALULA was set up as an inter-governmental partnership to support the development of AlUla sustainably and to protect its unique cultural and natural heritage.

Intrepid French travellers

Intrepid French travellers have been some of the first to explore the destination and the return of the Paris direct flight is another step reinforcing the strong links between the two nations.

The launch of the new direct route coincides with AlUla Moments, the calendar of events taking place in AlUla and featuring series of continuous festivals and major events. Among the upcoming events, the Ancient Kingdoms Festival will be launched for the first time and will offer visitors a sneak peek into two adjacent heritage oases to AlUla, Khaybar and Tayma, which both have a significant geological and historical heritage. December will see the return of Winter At Tantora, AlUla Moments' signature festival, offering the best in eclectic, surprising and cutting edge events.

Philip Jones, Chief Destination Management & Marketing Officer at RCU, comments: "This flight adds to the increasing accessibility of AlUla to international visitors with easier and faster connections for travellers coming from France and from the neighbouring European countries. With new world-class accommodation on offer and an event calendar shaping up to be exceptional, all the factors are converging to make AlUla one of the hottest new destinations to discover right now.”

Enhancing connections

Arved Von Zur Muhlen, Chief Commercial Officer at Saudia said: "The direct flights between Paris and AlUla will further enhance connections for visitors from France who are eager to experience everything this remarkable destination has to offer. The relaunch of the route comes as part of our continuing partnership with the Royal Commission of AlUla, and builds on the strong ties between our nations to create exciting opportunities for cultural exchange. As the ‘Wings of Vision 2030’, we look forward to welcoming guests from Europe to discover the kingdom’s authentic heritage, unique natural wonders, and world-class events.”

Gérard Mestrallet, Executive President of AFALULA, added: "This direct flight from Paris to AlUla strengthen more the relation between France and AlUla, which is the heart of AFALULA’s mission. It will greatly ease the travel to AlUla for the increasing number of people coming from France either for business purposes or leisure, all discovering this outstanding new destination.”

Saudia operates 32 weekly roundtrip flights from AlUla to Riyadh, Jeddah, and Damman with a seat capacity of more than 4,400 seats.

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