Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) won two awards at this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM), the Middle East’s largest travel trade event, which took place from April 22-25 at the Dubai International Convention Center.
An independent panel of judges from the ATM organizers selected SAUDIA for the “Best Stand Personnel” award. Some of the deciding factors included overall product knowledge; polite, well-represented, enthusiastic and attentive staff; good interactivity with guests; and cohesion among team members. The award was presented to SAUDIA’s vice president of marketing and product management, Dr. Fahad AlJarboa, by Jonathan Hull, portfolio head of sales for Reed Travel Exhibitions.
SAUDIA also won the “People’s Choice Award” based on votes by ATM attendees. SAUDIA’s exhibition stand featured the latest amenities, interactive experiences and aircraft seats in all three classes – economy, business and “first suite”- in addition to information about the airline’s new and upcoming routes and the new terminal at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.
Expanding network infrastructure
SAUDIA has selected SITA,a leading IT provider to the air transport industry, to introduce state-of-the-art IT infrastructure across 200 of the airline’s offices in 100 cities and airports in 60 countries. SITA will provide SAUDIA with its unique ATI Cloud solution which will allow the airline to manage and distribute its business applications, information and business services on-demand, anywhere in the world. The agreement also includes infrastructure, IT support and round-the-clock service through a dedicated service center.
H.E. Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines said that as SAUDIA moved forward with its expansion plans across the entire organization, it was critical to continue investing in leading-edge, modern technology. “SITA has had a long working relationship with SAUDIA, and we believe this investment in new IT infrastructure will be vital in supporting our growing operations globally” he said. “SITA showcased a quick turn-around time and a future-proof solution that is adaptable to any site.”
Hani El-Assaad, SITA’s president for the Middle East, India and Africa, said that with the rapid progress of hosted applications and cloud-based environments, it was the right time for SAUDIA to adopt cloud solutions across its network. “From a commercial perspective, quick responses to IT services requests are essential for running a successful operation and ensuring happy passengers” he said.
SAUDIA has signed memorandums of understanding with a number of world-class learning institutions to provide advanced executive programs for the airline’s senior management at its leadership development center. The signing ceremony took place at the airline’s headquarters in Jeddah at its state-of-the-art inflight services training academy. H.E. Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines spoke about the future direction of SAUDIA and its pursuit of excellence in all areas including leadership development “We are aware that the global business climate is changing at a rapid pace” he said, “and our leaders must be equipped for the horizons ahead, especially as we are in the midst of a transformation plan that is enhancing all aspects of the organization.
At last year’s Paris Air Show, SAUDIA was named by Skytrax, the international air transport rating organization, as “the world’s most improved airline” in recognition of its growth and improvement across a number of categories in a single year. Currently in its 73rd year of operations, SAUDIA currently flies to 90 destinations across four continents and has a fleet of 147 narrow and wide body Airbus and Boeing aircraft. It is also the global launch operator of the Airbus A330-300. The fleet is set to grow to more than 200 aircraft by the end of 2020. SAUDIA joined the SKYTEAM alliance in 2012 and is one of twenty member airlines. The airline carried more than 32 million passengers in 2017.