Saudia (SV, Jeddah) General Director, Saleh bin Nasser Al Jasser, says the carrier no longer benefits from government subsidization. According to the Argaam newspaper, al Jasser told a media gathering this week that Saudia is now wholly reliant on its own revenue streams.

“We have successfully cut expenses and seek to boost revenue by offering high-quality service and by expanding fleet," he said.

The move to wean the state-owned carrier off the national fiscus comes as it prepares for a planned IPO, alongside its flyadeal (F3, Jeddah) low-cost sibling, by 2020.

Aside from the drain on Saudi Arabia's coffers, the airline's dependence on government has also caused ructions with its international partners - among them United Airlines (UA, Chicago O'Hare) which terminated its ticketing and baggage interline agreements with Saudia and four other Middle Eastern carriers in May last year. At the time, the US legacy airline said it had taken the decision in light of Saudia's continued access to state subsidies.