This Day in History

This Day in History (1972): Saudia grabs No. 1 spot in the Islamic World

From meager beginnings, the Kingdom's state-supported airline rose to the region's top spot in under three decades.

This Day in History (1972): Saudia grabs No. 1 spot in the Islamic World

From the Nov. 11, 1972 edition of the Sun and Flare


71,381 miles ... that's the length of Saudia's travel network according to 1971 International Airlines Transport Association statistics.


Saudia covers this mileage in domestic routes throughout Arabia and in international routes that extend from London and Casablanca in the west to Bombay in the east ... giving it the top spot in total network mileage of all airlines in the Arab or Islamic world.


This represented phenomenal growth. In 1945, Saudi Arabian Airlines (it adopted the trade name Saudia in 1972) started operations with just one plane and a total travel network of 526 miles, the distance from Riyadh to Jiddah.


Saudia also claimed a fleet of 25 planes (the largest in the Middle East) and a staff of 4,500 persons, operating out of 24 airports in Saudi Arabia and from 24 airports in 18 countries on three continents abroad.


Also on this day:

2020 — Senegalese footballer Papa Bouba Diop dies


1988 — NFL quarterback Russell Wilson is born


1987 — North Korean agents plant a bomb on Korean Air flight 858, killing all 115 passengers and crew


1972 — Pong is released, the first commercially successful video game


1967 — Robert McNamara resigns as U.S. Secretary of Defense


1963 — The Beatles record "I Want to Hold Your Hand"


1945 — The Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia is declared


1929 — U.S. Admiral Richard E. Byrd leads the first expedition to fly over the South Pole


1899 — FC Barcelona is founded


1877 — Thomas Edison introduces the world to the phonograph


1732 — A magnitude 6.6 earthquake kills nearly 2,000 people in the Naples region of Italy


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