The Birth of Civil Aviation in the Kingdom

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KSA’s first commercial aircraft and the founding of its national airlines.

In 1945, USA president Franklin D. Roosevelt presented a Douglas DC-3 aircraft to King Abdulaziz. This became the first commercial aircraft and marked the birth of civil aviation in the Kingdom.

The DC-3 aircraft was soon after put into service, transporting passengers from Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhahran. Later that year, four additional DC-3 aircrafts were purchased and put into service. Following which in September 1946, under the aegis of the Saudi Ministry of Defense the nation’s flag carrier, Saudia, was formed. The airport in Jeddah served as its main base.

The following month the first international flight took off for Palestine and returning via Beirut carrying on it pilgrims bound for Makkah. Later that year, the first overseas office of the new airlines was taking bookings in Cairo that marked the beginning of the newly formed airlines’ international operations.

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