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.
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:
- We soar with the vision of our leaders. Our first surprise.
- The vision of the leaders and the will of the people. We fly over the most precious land, and our ambitions are in the sky.
- Towards a bright future with rational leadership and a sound vision
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 the founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – King Abdulaziz Al Saud.
— السعودية | 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.
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.
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