BA stops flying to Saudi Arabia

Click to follow
The Independent Online

British Airways is to stop flying to Saudi Arabia because the deteriorating security situation has hit passenger numbers and made the route unprofitable. BA said yesterday that flights to Jeddah and Riyadh, once among BA's most lucrative routes, would stop on 27 March. BA has been flying to Saudi Arabia for more than 70 years.

British Airways is to stop flying to Saudi Arabia because the deteriorating security situation has hit passenger numbers and made the route unprofitable. BA said yesterday that flights to Jeddah and Riyadh, once among BA's most lucrative routes, would stop on 27 March. BA has been flying to Saudi Arabia for more than 70 years.

Robert Boyle, the airline's director of commercial planning, said: "The decision is a difficult one because we have enjoyed a long history of flying between the two countries. But the routes don't make a profitable contribution to our business and we are unable to sustain them." The airline would not say how much money it was losing on the Saudi routes or how big is the decline in traffic.

BA operates four flights a week from Heathrow to Jeddah and three flights a week to Riyadh. BA crew have not stopped overnight there since last year because of fears for safety. Security precautions at Jeddah and Riyadh have been tightened "enormously".

BA suspended services to Saudi Arabia for nearly a month in the summer of 2003 because of terrorist fears and has cancelled flights to the country on three further occasions on the advice of the security services.

Crew flying in now stop only to drop off and pick up passengers then fly to Kuwait to rest overnight. A new crew makes the return journey to London. A spokeswoman said this meant BA was having to fly an extra leg at additional cost on each service in and out.

Mr Boyle said that because Saudi Arabia was a historically important market, the ban would be kept under review. BA passengers booked to fly to Saudi Arabia after 27 March are being contacted so alternative arrangements can be made.

Comments