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New Route of the Day (2 June 2024): ITA Airways between Rome FCO and Riyadh


ITA Airways inaugurated operations between Rome FCO and Riyadh on Sunday 2 June. The 3,675-kilometre route will be maintained 5-weekly, each day except on Tuesdays and Saturdays out of the Italian capital, with its 165-seat A321neo aircraft. The airline faces competition from 3-weekly SAUDIA flights and 2-weekly Wizz Air rotations. Both ITA Airways and SAUDIA are members of the SkyTeam alliance. The new service is being supported through the Saudi Air Connectivity Program.

Flight AZ838 departs Rome FCO at 15:25 local time, arriving in Riyadh at 21:25 local time. The return service, operating as flight AZ839, takes off from the Saudi capital at 01:45, each day except on Wednesdays and Sundays, touching back down in Italy at 06:35 local time.

What they said

Emiliana Limosani, Chief Commercial Officer at ITA Airways, said: “We are proud to inaugurate today our first nonstop flight to Riyadh and Saudi Arabia, a growing and strategic market for ITA Airways especially for business traffic. This new Riyadh – Rome connection marks a significant milestone for our company and will intensify trade flows between the Arabian Peninsula and our country.”

Aymen Aboabahm, CEO of operator Riyadh Airports, added: “We are delighted to welcome ITA Airways, Italy’s flag carrier, as it launches direct flights between Rome and Riyadh – two key aviation hubs. ITA’s entry into the Saudi market will greatly enhance our air connectivity, promote tourism between these vibrant capital cities, and attract more inbound visitors from the airline’s extensive network in America. We look forward to working with our partners to offer travellers from around the world seamless and convenient access to the wonders of Saudi Arabia.”

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ITA Airways to grow Gulf network

ITA Airways plans to further increase operations to the Gulf region. Starting 1 July, the Italian carrier will inaugurate 4-weekly operations between Rome FCO and Kuwait City, using its A321neo. Its predecessor, Alitalia, served the city-pair until April 1999.

The airline will add Jeddah as its second destination in Saudi Arabia on 1 August. Flights will operate 3-weekly. During the peak of S24, ITA Airways will serve 57 detitanations, including 16 domestic, 26 international and 15 intercontinental. Additionally, during the summer peak, the airline will fly to 12 additional seasonal destinations.

Saudi Air Connectivity Program attracts new carriers

ITA Airways is the latest airline to be enticed by the Saudi Air Connectivity Program, which aims to enhance air connectivity from unserved and underserved markets around the world to Saudi Arabia. Some of the airlines that have so far used the program include Wizz Air (from Bucharest, Budapest, and Rome FCO to Jeddah), SAUDIA (to Beijing PEK, Birmingham, Kano and Johannesburg), flynas (from Jeddah to Abuja, Bishkek, Osh, Baghdad, and Tashkent), as well as China Eastern Airlnes (from Shanghai PVG to Riyadh).

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