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Wizz Air launches 20 new routes to KSA, considering a Saudi operating license

RIYADH: European budget carrier Wizz Air announced on Thursday it was launching 20 new routes with a capacity of 1 million new seats from Bucharest, Budapest, Catania, Larnaca, Milan, Naples, Rome, Tirana, Varna, Venice and Vienna to Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam in Saudi Arabia.

The airline is also considering basing an airline in Saudi Arabia as part an agreement signed with the government this year to develop the Kingdom’s aviation sector, Reuters reported citing Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi.

“Saudi Arabia is one of the most exciting countries in the world for aviation portraying an eclectic mix of travel opportunities with unmissable destinations, countless exciting attractions, and a thriving cultural scene,” he said in a separate statement.

A Saudi license could allow a subsidiary or joint venture to operate domestic services in the Kingdom, which has a population of about 36 million. It could also operate international flights that start in Saudi Arabia, opening up access to new markets.

Commenting on the new routes, Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO and member of the Board at Saudi Tourism Authority, said: “Today’s announcement of 20 new routes to Saudi is one of the largest such announcements anywhere in the world. It is a real first for Wizz Air and for Saudi, and opens a new and affordable gateway for visitors from Europe that will allow everyone to come and explore the world’s most exciting new destination.”  

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