Citilink (QG, Surabaya) will deploy its sole A330-900 on a 3x weekly service from Surabaya to Jeddah beginning January 26.

The non-stop route will cater to an increased need from Umrah pilgrimage traffic for direct flights to Saudi Arabia from the region, according to Indonesian newspaper Tribun News. Lion Air (4x weekly) and Saudi Arabian Airlines (2x weekly) already operate on the 4,669-nautical mile (8,648-kilometre) sector.

"Citilink's overseas route service is the first direct service from Surabaya to Jeddah. It uses the new A330-900 aircraft," explained Muhammad Agung Hartono, the airline's Senior Manager of Charter and International Flights.

"Looking at our data, it tells us that around 300,000 Umrah pilgrims per year depart from Surabaya. We are targetting to carry 100,000 worshippers during 2020," he added.

Citilink has plied the Indonesia-Saudi Arabia market in the past albeit using narrowbody A320 Family jets. However, their range limitations forced the use of technical stops at cities such as Hyderabad Int'l, Thiruvananthapuram, and Mumbai Int'l en-route.

Citilink currently operates just one A330-900neo, PK-GYC (msn 1887). Since its arrival in Indonesia in December, the low-cost carrier has been using the aircraft on domestic routes, primarily between Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta and Denpasar. In addition to its widebody equipment, the airline operates forty-one A320-200s, ten A320-200neo, seven ATR72-600s, and a sole inactive B737-500.