First flights in five years from Canada to Saudi Arabia now in the air from Pearson Airport in Mississauga

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Published December 5, 2023 at 10:26 am

New flights between Pearson Airport in Mississauga and Saudi Arabia.

The first direct flights in five years between Canada and Saudi Arabia are now in the air out of Pearson Airport in Mississauga.

Pearson Airport officials announced via social media on Monday that Saudia (formerly Saudi Arabian Airlines) has launched flights between Pearson and the port city of Jeddah, a modern commercial hub of about 4.7 million people located on the Red Sea.

“Big news,” Pearson officials said on a social media post. “This is the only direct service between Toronto and Saudi Arabia, opening up a world of possibilities throughout the region.”

The Pearson-to-Saudi Arabia flights, scheduled for three times a week, resumed on Dec. 2 after five years of suspended service, according to aviation news outlet Travel Pulse. Saudi Arabia suspended flights between the two nations following Canadian criticism of its human rights record back in 2018.

Now, though, Saudi Arabia is reportedly looking to expand its tourism economy.

Saudia, the flagship carrier of Saudi Arabia, operates an extensive network of more than 100 destinations across four continents, airline officials said in an online description of the carrier.

It features a growing fleet of 143 Boeing and Airbus aircraft and is “dedicated to launching new international destinations, aiming to connect the world to the Kingdom,” Saudia executives said in a recent news release announcing expansion to South Africa.

Jeddah also serves as a gateway for pilgrimages to the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

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