In an effort to expand its tourism economy, enhance air traffic connectivity, and promote its non-oil sectors, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is introducing 20 new routes from Europe to Saudi Arabia on the Hungary based ultra-low-cost carrier Wizz Air. This announcements comes as Saudi Arabia plans to establish a new flag airline, triple its air passenger traffic by 2030, and add 250 direct routes as part of an effort to diversify its economy away from oil.

According to the airline’s announcement, it will run flights from the capital cities of Hungary’s Budapest, Romania’s Bucharest, Italy’s Rome, as well as Catania, Milan, Naples, and Venice; Larnaca in Cyprus; Bulgaria’s Sofia; Albania’s Tirana; and Austria’s Vienna to the Saudi capital Riyadh and the cities of Jeddah and Dammam. Adding further the airline mentioned that fares will start at €54.99 ($55).

The first flights are scheduled for December, with the Vienna-Jeddah route starting on December 13. According to the airline, further flights will be added up until July 2023. According to the company, the Wizz Air expansion is anticipated to increase travel to Saudi Arabia by over a million next year.

“In the history of this airline, this is by far the largest commercial announcement we have ever made. It also makes sense for the Kingdom that is in transition to change its aviation industry to get into gear for increased tourism”, said Jozsef Varadi, CEO of Wizz Air.

Wizz Air and the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Investment struck a preliminary agreement in May to look into ways to expand the aviation market in the country. As part of this agreement, Wizz Air is also considering about opening an airline in the kingdom, according to Mr. Varadi.

The global tourism sector in Saudi Arabia is understated and misperceived; it has many attractions, and we want to ensure that we build the infrastructure to make those potential apparent. The Saudi tourism and travel industry is expected to swell at an average of 11 per cent annually over the next decade. By initiating and facilitating such projects the Saudi government is making it easier than ever to get to Saudi Arabia and are confident that increased travel options and competitiveness will expand consumer choice and drive down costs.