Celebrating diversity with Airbus in Saudi Arabia

Saudia, the national carrier of Saudi Arabia, was very proud to be the world’s first airline to fly a brand new model of the Airbus A330, a hugely successful twin-engine competitor of the Boeing 777.  The new model in question, the A330 Regional, was proudly touted by Airbus:

Saudi Arabian Airlines, the national carrier of Saudi Arabia will become the first airline in the world to operate the new Airbus A330-300 Regional.

These popular fuel-efficient Airbus widebody and single-aisle aircraft will join Saudi Arabian Airlines’ existing Airbus fleet of twelve A330-300s and 50 A320 Family.

Passenger demand in Saudi Arabia is experiencing high growth both on domestic and regional routes. The new A330-300 Regional variant, specially designed for regional and domestic operations, is Airbus’ solution for markets with large populations and fast growing, concentrated air traffic flows. The A330-300 Regional is set to boost capacity on several of Saudi Arabian Airlines most in-demand routes, enabling the airline to better serve the Saudi Arabian and regional travelling public.

Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser Director General Saudi Arabian Airlines, said: “The A330-300 Regional’s unique flexibility, high capacity and operational capabilities will enable us to expand our domestic and regional network and better absorb growing passenger traffic. Introducing the A330-300 Regional in our current fleet is an ideal choice and follows our previous commitment to a family of aircraft which already successfully helped us achieve our ambitions,” he added. 

For its part, the airline also expressed a lot of pride:

Saudi Arabia is a very large country with vast distances separating its population centers and very rough terrain, making surface transport less attractive than air travel.  As a result, thanks to high incomes, there is a very big and rapidly growing market for domestic air travel.

There is just one problem: the cultural norms of people rooted in desert Bedouin tribes, and in a modern country where actual physical labor is largely delegated to foreigners, are not conducive to keeping shiny new airplanes all that pleasant inside.

Keep in mind that Saudis who travel overseas are likely to be far more sophisticated than their brethren who confine themselves to domestic flying and have never had to learn about the ways of infidels.

This video from LiveLeak shows what happened within days when our Saudi friends got access to the planes: