Saudia Is Operating A “Flying Museum” On 1 Route From Riyadh

On November 4, 2021, Saudi Arabia national flag carrier became the first airline to launch a flying museum. As a part of this first-of-its-kind experience, passengers onboard the flight had a unique experience to learn all about what is arguably the world’s most extensive archaeological program.

Saudia Airbus A330-300
Saudia used an Airbus A330-300 for its Museum in the Sky flight. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia

Called “Museum in the Sky,” the flight took off from Riyadh to Al-Ula, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Medina Region of north-western Saudi Arabia. Historically located on the incense route, Al-Ula was the capital of the Lihyanites and what was once the Biblical city of Dedan.

Saudia used an Airbus A330-300 for the special flight

For the 1 hr 20 min flight between King Khalid International Airport (RUH) and Prince Abdul Majeed bin Abdulaziz Airport (ULH), Saudia deployed one of its 32 Airbus A330-300s. Passengers onboard the flight got to study replicas of artifacts found during excavations to unlock Al-Ula’s ancient mysteries.

Saudia also used the opportunity to launch its new in-flight entertainment channel called “Discover Saudi Arabia.” Passengers onboard the flight were also encouraged to watch a Discovery Channel documentary movie called “Architects of Ancient Arabia.” When speaking about the “Museum in the Sky” flight in a Saudia statement, Vice President of Corporate Communication Khaled Tash said:

“As the national flag carrier and Wings of Vision 2030, it is a privilege to showcase heritage sites and hidden gems of the Kingdom. We have created a dedicated channel in our In-Flight Entertainment System to do just that and to display this beautifully produced documentary by the Discovery Channel.

Broadening our partnership with the Royal Commission for Al-Ula, we created a ‘Museum in the Sky’ experience to Al-Ula that brings its rich heritage to life onboard Saudia. We are eager to promote Al-Ula globally as an unmissable tourist destination and bring the world to AlUla.”

Archaeologists are begging to understand Al-Ula’s past

Saudia Museum in the Sky
Al-Ula is built on the Biblical city of Dedan. Photo: Saudia

Passengers onboard the special flight were also treated to a talk about Al-Ula by Archaeologist Dr. Rebecca Foote. When commenting in the Saudia statement about Al-Ula, Dr. Foote said:

“There is an extraordinary volume of work ongoing in Al-Ula by both local and international archaeological teams, and yet we are only just beginning to understand the complexity of Al-Ula’s past. Al-Ula is a true hidden gem in the Arabian Peninsula, and we are slowly revealing its secrets.”

Saudia operates 32 flights a week to Al-Ula

In the coming months, Al-Ula is offering a wide range of year-round and seasonal activities to both domestic and foreign visitors looking to learn more about the 6th century BC, oasis in the desert. People in Saudia Arabia and around the world can book special packages that include flights, accommodation, and activities by visiting

Saudia Al-Ula
Al-Ula is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photo: Saudia

Saudia operates 32 weekly roundtrip flights from Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam to Al-Ula, with a capacity of more than 4,400 seats available. With Saudia Arabia being extremely hot during the summer, the best time to visit Al-Ula is when the temperatures are a pleasant, 10–25 degrees Celsius (45–70 degrees Fahrenheit), between October and April.

What do you think about the Saudia “Museum in the Sky” flight and is it something other airlines could do to promote their country’s national treasures? Please tell us what you think in the comments.