SAUDIA Participates in SkyTeam’s Sustainable Flight Challenge 2023 in Joint Effort to Make Aviation Cleaner

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

  • The airline will participate in the second edition of the global challenge along with 21 airlines under the SkyTeam alliance.
  • All participating airlines will operate three flights: a short, medium and long- haul, where they will test sustainable innovations from ground operations to landing.

Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA), the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, announced its participation in the second edition of The Sustainable Flight Challenge (TSFC), organized by the SkyTeam alliance globally.

Through this participation, SAUDIA commits to sharing its sustainable innovations and insights which help reduce its environmental impact while alternative fuel sources are being researched.

Figure 1

To be able to undertake the challenge, flights must form part of the airlines’ existing networks and fall within a specified distance. SAUDIA will perform three flights, a medium-haul flight on a B878-9 Dreamliner from Jeddah (JED) to/from Dubai (DXB) taking off on 18 May; a long-haul flight on a B878-9 Dreamliner from Jeddah (JED) to/from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) on 23 and 24 May; and a short-haul flight on a A320 from Jeddah (JED) to/from Riyadh (RUH) on 28 May.

All the way from on-the-ground operations to landing, innovations and best practice will be tested with the ultimate objective to implement those proving impactful and scalable on commercial and cargo flights.

Once flights are completed, airlines will submit their results which will be evaluated against a set of criteria by a diverse panel of aviation and sustainability experts from around the world, for each of the following awards:

  • Lowest CO2 emissions
  • Greatest CO2 reduction
  • Lowest CO2 emissions ground operations
  • Best in-flight waste management
  • Best collaboration
  • Best adoption
  • Best Innovation
Figure 2

SAUDIA CEO, Captain Ibrahim Koshy, said, “At SAUDIA, we believe that preserving our planet is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced, and we are taking serious actions to reduce our environmental impact. We constantly take part in promoting sustainable travel as we implement a variety of environment-friendly initiatives and we invest massively in fuel-efficient aircraft such as Boeing 787 Dreamliners, Electrical Vertical Take-off and Landing jets with Lilium, as well as the order of CFM International LEAP-1A engines to power our new fleet of 35 Airbus A321neo and 30 A320neo aircraft.”

“We are extremely proud to be part of an alliance, SkyTeam, who has always put sustainability at the heart of its strategy. This Challenge represents a great and necessary opportunity to collaborate with industry leaders and find impactful and viable solutions to reduce the sector’s carbon footprint,” Captain Koshy added.

Figure 3

SAUDIA hopes to help fast-track the fight against climate change thanks to this collaborative challenge led by SkyTeam. In last year’s edition, SAUDIA won the ‘best customer engagement’ and ‘best employee engagement’ awards. SAUDIA was also a finalist in three other categories: ‘greatest CO2 reduction medium-haul’, ‘lowest CO2 emissions ground-handling’ and ‘best sustainable innovation (in-flight)’.

Category winners will be announced later this year, where ideas, innovations and insights will be presented at a showcase event hosted by Delta Air Lines in Atlanta, USA.

About Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA)

Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) is the national flag carrier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Established in 1945, the company is one of the Middle East’s largest airlines.

SAUDIA is a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO). It has been one of the 19 member airlines of the SkyTeam alliance since 2012. SAUDIA has received many prestigious industry awards and recognitions. Most recently, it was ranked a Global Five-Star Major Airline by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), and the carrier was awarded the Diamond status by APEX Health Safety.

For further information on Saudi Arabian Airlines, please visit

About SkyTeam

SkyTeam is dedicated to powering a seamless customer journey, with all members working together to connect millions of passengers across an extensive global network. The members are Aeroflot (suspended), Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Air Europa, Air France, China Airlines, China Eastern, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Garuda Indonesia, ITA Airways, Kenya Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, Saudia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines, and XiamenAir.

About the Sustainable Flight Challenge

The Sustainable Flight Challenge (TSFC) exists to challenge the aviation industry by stimulating and accelerating innovation towards a sustainable future. TSFC was first presented in 2022 by SkyTeam, a leading airline alliance with member carriers around the world. This year’s challenge is scheduled between 15 May – 28 May 2023 in which 22 participating airlines will implement their most sustainable solutions and compete for awards in 31 categories. This challenge – including flight and ground operations – is another step in the aviation industry’s path towards a more sustainable future.