The Milestone Steps in the March of Civil Aviation in Saudi Arabia

The Milestone Steps in the March of Civil Aviation in Saudi Arabia

Based on the conviction of late King Abdulaziz of the importance of civil aviation as a necessary element to achieve the renaissance that he envisioned for the country, the first building blocks for the civil aviation sector was set by the founder King Abdulaziz started, when a private aircraft that was gifted to him by US President Roosevelt during their historic meeting on February, 1945. 

The King in turn gifted the aircraft to the people of Saudi Arabia, thereafter, regular domestic flights between Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhahran started.  The aircraft in mention was a Dakota DC-3 manufactured by Douglas Aircraft Company and landed in Jeddah in 1945.

A few months after the arrival of the aforementioned plane, King Abdulaziz ordered the purchase of two other aircraft of the same type.  The three aircraft constituted the budding nucleus of the civil aviation in the country. 

Thereafter, a department was formed called the (Aviation Division), which oversaw technical issues.  Administrative affairs were handled by a department named (Airline Administration).  In 1948, King Abdulaziz ordered the establishment of the civil aviation authority, which included both Saudia Airlines and the civil aviation administration.

Soon after World War 2, King Abdulaziz ordered the purchase of five (Dakota Douglas DC-3) aircraft, later on six aircraft of the same type were added and soon after three more were purchased.  At some later date, five Bristol aircraft were added to the fleet.

In 1947, regularly scheduled flights were operated between Jeddah, Riyadh, Al Hafuf and Dhahran, international flights followed thereafter, to each of Oman, Beirut, Cairo and Damascus.