Saudi national carrier to double fleet: media

Saudi national carrier to double fleet: media
A Saudi Arabian airlines plane on the tarmac at the King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

RIYADH - State-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines plans to roughly double its fleet over the next five years while expanding its routes, official media reported on Monday.

The carrier intends to raise "the number of aircraft from the current number of 119 to 200 aircraft by 2020," Saleh bin Nasser al-Jasser, the company's director general, said at an executive meeting.

He was quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Jasser said the 70-year-old carrier, known as Saudia, will add domestic flights and new international destinations.

The kingdom, the Arab world's largest economy, is spending billions of dollars on building and upgrading airports, including those in the capital Riyadh and in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

Gulf countries have been betting on a sharp rise in passenger traffic.

The region's so-called Gulf Big Three -- Emirates, Qatar Airways and Abu Dhabi's Etihad -- have seized a large chunk of global air travel, turning their hubs into major stops on transcontinental routes.

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