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New Link to Saudi Arabia – The Region’s Top Trading Partner – Launches at London Gatwick

2nd June 2023


  • 17% of all Sussex, Surrey and Kent exports go to Saudi Arabia – more than any other destination
  • Key exports include manufacturing and engineering goods, bio-life sciences, and pharmaceutical items
  • Flag-carrier Saudia began operating flights between London Gatwick and Jeddah yesterday

A new link to the region’s top trading partner will give South East businesses a boost, as airline Saudia yesterday launched a new service between London Gatwick and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Between April 2022 and March 2023, 17% of all goods and services exported by businesses in Sussex, Surrey and Kent went to Saudi Arabia – more than any other destination.1 Among the main exports include manufacturing and engineering goods, bio-life sciences, and pharmaceutical items.

These trade volumes – and the jobs they support – will be boosted by this new Saudia route, with the majority of cargo at Gatwick being transported in the belly of long-haul passenger flights.

The service will operate six times per week, increasing to daily from August.

Cargo volumes are also set to more than double if Gatwick’s Northern Runway is brought into routine use – further supporting local businesses and jobs.

Jonathan Pollard, Chief Commercial Officer, London Gatwick said: “At London Gatwick, we continue to provide new global routes that support jobs, trade and opportunities for people and businesses across the South East. 

“With Saudia’s base in Jeddah, this new route also provides excellent onward connections to destinations such as Pakistan, Malaysia, India and Bangladesh.”

Ana Christie, Chief Executive, Sussex Chamber of Commerce said: “Sussex Chamber is delighted to hear that Gatwick is expanding its routes to Saudi Arabia. This is one of the largest export markets for Sussex businesses, who export a multitude of manufacturing and engineering goods, as well as bio-life sciences, and pharmaceutical items. Sussex Chamber provides essential trade documentation for hundreds of businesses, the majority of which export to the Middle East.

“This new route at London Gatwick will allow businesses to expand business relations, explore new opportunities in Saudi Arabia and help attract inward investment back into the area, which will lead to economic growth.”

London Gatwick currently serves 45 long-haul destinations, including both Jeddah and Washington DC (operated by Norse) starting yesterday, with further new long-haul routes across the USA, Asia and Africa due to start in coming months.

London Gatwick wants to invest in its long-term future and is preparing a planning application to bring the airport’s Northern Runway into regular use, for departures only, alongside its Main Runway. This low-impact plan will improve resilience, reduce delays, and provide a significant boost to the regional economy by supporting trade, tourism, and new jobs.