Created: Wed, 29 Jan 2014 07:15:12 EST
Updated: Wed, 29 Jan 2014 07:15:12 EST
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabian Airlines says it will begin operating direct flights to Los Angeles's LAX airport by March 31.
Saudia, the kingdom's national carrier, already operates 14 flights a week to the Washington D.C. area and New York City.
The airline says flights to Los Angeles are aimed at accommodating the thousands of Saudi students studying in the United States on Saudi government scholarships.
Saudia senior spokesman, Abdullah bin Mushabab, said in a statement on Tuesday that the new flights will also help accommodate American Muslims in the west coast flying to Saudi Arabia for religious pilgrimage. He says the flights will run three times a week on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
The airline will use the Boeing 777-300 Extended Range aircraft for the nearly 17-hour long flights.