Saudia Airlines launching direct flights to Thailand this month
Saudia Airlines will launch direct flights to Thailand on February 28, Saudi Arabia’s national carrier announced via Facebook on Saturday.
The route will open three months earlier than the May start time announced previously by the airline.
Thai tourism authorities are targeting Bt20 billion in revenue from an expected 200,000 Saudi visitors this year.
"Bangkok is closer than ever. Our first direct flight will take to the skies on February 28 with prices starting from 1499 SAR [about Bt12,850] only," Saudia said.
The move follows the normalisation of diplomatic ties between Thailand and Saudi Arabia after a 30-year freeze due to the so-called Blue Diamond Affair. The 1989 theft of jewels from a Saudi palace by a Thai cleaner triggered a trail of murders and suspected police corruption in Thailand.
Ties were restored last month when Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha led a state visit to the desert kingdom for talks with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the first leader-level talks between the two governments in 30 years.
The visit helped re-establish cooperation between the two countries, including on labour matters. Thai workers are being screened by the KTC Skills Testing Centre in Pathum Thani before being assigned to jobs in Saudi Arabia.