Riyadh: Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport welcomed an Emirates A380 on Friday night in celebration of Saudi Arabia's 81st National Day.
The celebratory A380 flight touched down to a water cannon salute before Captain Ali Kashwani and First Officer Yousuf Al Shamsi, both Emiratis, waved the Saudi flag from the cockpit windows in honour of the country's National Day.
The 489 passengers on-board were then welcomed by key officials including Mohammad Bin Saeed Al Daheri, UAE Ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Abdul Aziz Al Anqari, Vice-President of the Saudi Civil Aviation General Authority, and Adel Al Gaith, Emirates Vice-President Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Travelling on the flight from Dubai was senior Emirates executive Ahmad Khoury, Emirates Senior Vice-President, Gulf, Middle East and Iran. Emirates also played host to a number of key UAE-based officials including Mohammad Al Merri, Director-General, Dubai General Department for Residency and Foreigners Affairs, and Salah Rashid Al Ansari, Director of Dubai Tourism.
"It is fitting that on the occasion of the country's 81st National Day we have landed our flagship aircraft in the country's capital. For Emirates our A380 is symbolic of our determination to succeed in much the same way that the kingdom's National Day embodies the passion of this great nation. Today's A380 service to King Khalid International Airport reinforces the strong bond that Emirates shares with Saudi Arabia and we congratulate the country on their National Day," Khoury said.
On arrival Emirates and King Khalid International Airport held an airport reception for around 80 VIPs and media. Guests were then invited to a guided tour of the aircraft's interior, gaining an appreciation for its incredible design and aesthetics.
"Since our first operation to Jeddah in 1989 we have worked closely with the Saudi Government to increase our services, now operating to four gateways across the kingdom. Cem-enting our commitment to the country even further we have most recently signed a sponsorship deal with the Zain Saudi Professional League, a sponsorship that reaches the Saudi public through their innate love of football," added Khoury.