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On Saturday, September 11th, Saudi Arabian Airlines (better known as Saudia) unveiled the brand new livery of one of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. With the airline’s official establishment in 1946, this special one-off livery celebrates the airline’s 75th anniversary.
The special livery replaces the airline’s dark blue tail with gold and the faces of three members of the Saudi Royal Family. Photo: Saudia
On Saturday, Saudia took to Twitter to unveil its special 75th-anniversary livery. Text posted along with the photos and video across the three posts read as follows:
These posts, when paired with the three faces painted on the aircraft’s tail, show that this special paint job is less a celebration of the airline’s 75-year legacy and more of a tribute to the Saudi Royal Family, who are technically the owners of the airline. The airline is a state-owned entity belonging to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the country itself is ruled by the Saudi Royal Family.
While we certainly do quite well in identifying aircraft types and even aircraft liveries, it’s a little more difficult to identify the faces painted on this aircraft. However, it’s fairly clear that the bottom face is that of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, while the middle appears to be his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The top face, then, is likely to be Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who ruled Saudi Arabia from 2005 until his death in 2015.
نحلّق برؤية قادتنا أولى مفاجآتنا في #اليوم_الوطني_السعودي_91 #هي_لنا_دار pic.twitter.com/WgZP3nQBF8
SAUDIA (@Saudi_Airlines) September 11, 2021
About the aircraft
The specific aircraft getting this special look is a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner registered as HZ-ARE. This is a four-and-a-half-year-old jet, which was delivered to Saudia in March 2017. According to Planespotters.net, it is configured to accommodate 24 passengers in business class and 274 in economy.
Planespotters.net has the aircraft listed as parked with Radarbox.com showing the aircraft’s last flight as SZ1057 from Riyadh to Jeddah on August 29th. Given the timing of the flight and unveiling of the aircraft, there’s a good chance that this 787 has yet to fly a regular commercial service in its new colors.
Saudia was officially established in 1946. Photo: Saudia
A 75-year history
Depending on how you count an airline’s age, Saudia is at least 75 years old but could also be considered 76. The airline has its roots in 1945 with a single twin-engine DC-3 (Dakota) given to King Abdul Aziz as a gift by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Months later, two more DC-3s were purchased.
In 1946, Saudia was officially set up as an operating agency of the Ministry of Defense. The airline’s website goes on to say that its first airport and operating base was located at Kandara, which is close to the current-day downtown area of Jeddah.
Today Saudia has 158 aircraft, with more on the way. Its fleet consists of Airbus A320s, A321s, and A330s, as well as Boeing 777s and 787s.
Have you flown with Saudia before? Let us know by leaving a comment.
This article first appeared on simpleflying.com
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