Europe-Saudi Arabia among world’s fastest growing markets; Berlin and Brussels routes coming
Europe to Saudi Arabia has smashed the one million departing seat threshold for the final three months of a year. According to Cirium schedules information, there are 1.18 million available seats in Q4 2023 – up by an astonishing 59% versus Q4 2019 and 39% over the previous high in 2022. It has been heavily influenced by Saudi’s hugely ambitious Vision 2030 plan and underpinned by Air Connectivity Program funding.
47+ new routes since the start of 2023
The following list details example additions since January 2023, of which none have previously been served by the stated airline. The latest routes to be announced are flynas between Jeddah and Berlin and Brussels, both previously unserved from Saudi Arabia and both to be flown 3-weekly. Not all of the following services still operate.
- 9 January: Wizz Air, Bucharest-Jeddah
- 9 January: Wizz Air, Bucharest-Riyadh
- 9 January: Wizz Air, Budapest-Riyadh
- 10 January: Wizz Air, Budapest-Jeddah
- 11 January: Wizz Air, Rome FCO-Jeddah
- 26 March: Wizz Air, Budapest-Dammam
- 26 March: Wizz Air, Catania-Riyadh
- 26 March: Wizz Air, Milan MXP-Riyadh
- 28 March: Wizz Air, Venice VCE-Jeddah
- 29 March: Saudia, Neom Bay-London LHR
- 3 April: Wizz Air, Naples-Riyadh
- 17 April: Wizz Air, Tirana-Dammam
- 17 April: Wizz Air, Larnaca-Riyadh
- 19 April: Wizz Air, Sofia-Riyadh
- 20 April: Wizz Air, Venice VCE-Riyadh
- 1 June: flynas, Dammam-Istanbul SAW
- 1 June: Saudia, Jeddah-London LGW
- 1 June: flynas, Riyadh-Tivat
- 4 June: Aegean, Athens-Dammam
- 6 June: Pegasus, Trabzon-Riyadh
- 11 June: Turkish Airlines, Antalya-Dammam
- 16 June: Saudia, Riyadh-Nice
- 20 June: flynas, Dammam-Trabzon
- 21 June: flynas, Dammam-Tirana
- 21 June: flynas, Riyadh-Antalya
- 21 June: flyadeal, Riyadh-Sarajevo
- 21 June: flynas, Riyadh-Yerevan
- 22 June: flyadeal, Jeddah-Tbilisi
- 22 June: flyadeal, Jeddah-Trabzon
- 22 June: flyadeal, Riyadh-Antalya
- 22 June: flyadeal, Riyadh-Bodrum
- 22 June: flyadeal, Riyadh-Larnaca
- 23 June: flyadeal, Riyadh-Izmir
- 23 June: flyadeal, Riyadh-Heraklion
- 23 June: flyadeal, Riyadh-Tbilisi
- 23 June: flyadeal, Riyadh-Trabzon
- 24 June: flynas, Jeddah-Bodrum
- 24 June: flyadeal, Dammam-Tbilisi
- 24 June: flyadeal, Riyadh-Rhodes
- 24 June: flyadeal, Riyadh-Tivat
- 2 July: Saudia, Jeddah-Birmingham
- 4 July: Wizz Air, Larnaca-Dammam
- 5 July: Wizz Air, Larnaca-Jeddah
- 13 July: flynas, Jeddah-Antalya
- 7 November: flynas, Jeddah-Ankara
- 1 December: flynas, Jeddah-Berlin
- 2 December 2023: flynas, Jeddah-Brussels BRU
Saudia is top, but Wizz Air now has 11% of seats
Cirium tells that 10 airlines have non-stop Europe-Saudi Arabia flights this October-December. Analysis shows that Saudi operators Saudia, flynas, and flyadeal (Saudia’s lower-cost arm) have about half of all available capacity. But the biggest development is, of course, Wizz Air.
ULCC Wizz Air entered this market in September 2022 and is now the third-largest operator with 11% of non-stop seats. It has 20 Europe-Saudi routes in Q4, with its network touching three airports in the Kingdom (Dammam, Jeddah, Riyadh) from nine European airports.
Some 66 routes this quarter; Jeddah-Istanbul leads
Including a small number of summer-seasonal and Umrah-related services, the number of Europe-Saudi Arabia routes total 66 in Q4. Cirium indicates they have risen from 46 (+43%!) versus the same three months in 2022.
Some 17 European countries have non-stop service, up by five year-on-year with the addition of Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Hungary and Romania.Yet it is Turkey which remains very much the leading country, both for high point-to-point demand and connections elsewhere.
Turkey accounts for 51% of Q4 capacity, although that has reduced by four percentage points versus 2022 despite strong growth (+27%). While much smaller markets, other standouts include Italy (+148%), UK (+62%) and Austria (+55%).
Istanbul IST-Jeddah continues to be by far the most served market. There are 46 departing flights in the first week of November by Saudia (21-weekly), Turkish Airlines (18-weekly) and flyadeal (daily). There are an additional 24-weekly flights to Istanbul SAW, for a total of 70 at city level. They are by Pegasus (11), AnadoluJet (9) and flynas (4).