Alliance welcomes first airline from Middle East as 16th member
Jeddah, 29 May 2012 – SkyTeam, the global airline alliance, today welcomed Saudia as its 16th member at a joining ceremony held in Jeddah. The flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, Saudia becomes SkyTeam’s first member airline from the Middle East and gives the alliance a strong foothold in this important economic region.
From its hubs in Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam, Saudia operates a comprehensive network throughout the Arabian Peninsula, the Indian Subcontinent and Northern Africa. Saudia adds 51 new destinations to SkyTeam’s global network, including 23 within Saudi Arabia. Examples of new destinations are: Islamabad, Pakistan; Colombo, Sri Lanka; and Alexandria, Egypt.
“Saudia’s membership adds value to the alliance by opening up the considerable Saudi Arabian market to our customers,” said Michael Wisbrun, SkyTeam’s Managing Director. “We are responding to passenger demand for increased travel choice within the Middle East by adding a significant player from the region. This allows us to offer more destinations, while continuing our focus on enhancing products and services for our global customers.”
“Joining SkyTeam is an integral part of Saudia’s long-term transformation strategy, which includes rebranding our airline, restructuring core operations and enhancing onboard products and airport services,” said His Excellency Khalid Al-Molhem, Saudia’s Director General. “We are proud to become SkyTeam’s first Middle Eastern member and this milestone marks a momentous occasion in our airline’s history. We look forward to a bright future as a SkyTeam member, offering a greater worldwide network and benefits to our customers.”
Prior to joining SkyTeam, Saudia embarked on a four-year turnaround program, which will be completed by 2013. As a key part of this program, the airline took the opportunity to refresh its corporate identity and change its name. Upon joining SkyTeam, the name Saudia was reintroduced, the airline’s name from 1972 to 1996, still fondly used by its customers. Honour, an aviation brand experience consultancy, designed and managed the brand refresh program. Other elements of Saudia’s transformation plan include modernizing IT, commercial, operational and financial platforms and renewing the fleet by acquiring 90 new aircraft.
During the joining ceremony, Saudia unveiled two aircraft painted in SkyTeam livery. The aircraft are a Boeing B777-200 (reg. HZ-AKC) deployed on routes to Dubai, London, New York and Guangzhou, in addition to an Airbus A320 (reg. HZ-ASF) used primarily on routes to Europe and the UAE.
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SkyTeam is a global airline alliance providing customers from member airlines access to an extensive global network with more destinations, more frequencies and more connectivity. Passengers can earn and redeem Frequent Flyer Miles throughout the SkyTeam network. SkyTeam member airlines offer customers over 490 lounges worldwide. The sixteen members are: Aeroflot, Aeroméxico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Kenya Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, Saudia, TAROM and Vietnam Airlines. SkyTeam offers its 506 million annual customers over 14,700 daily flights to 958 destinations in 173 countries.
www.skyteam.com / www.facebook.com/skyteam / www.youtube.com/user/skyteam
Saudia (SV) is one of the major carriers in the Middle East, operating flights to over 78 domestic and international destinations. The national carrier has played an important role in the Kingdom’s social, cultural and economic development and carries over 21 million passengers including pilgrims from different parts of the world to perform Hajj and Umrah and to visit holy places within the country. The creation of Saudia was officially announced in 1945, a year after the Kingdom’s skyline witnessed the first flight by a DC-3 aircraft gifted to King Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al-Saud by then US President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Today Saudia operates a fleet of 103 jet aircraft to destinations in the Middle East, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, the Far East, Europe and the United States of America. Saudia serves 78 destinations, 26 domestic and 52 international. During the period from 2006 to 2011, Saudia achieved unprecedented progress. It signed a major deal to purchase (90) modern state-of-the-art aircraft including (35) A320s, (15) A321s, (12) A330s, (20) Boeing 777-300ERs and (8) Boeing 787 Dreamliners. For many years, Saudia has set the pace in terms of innovation, enhanced passenger services and facilities, and ever-higher standards in the air and on the ground.
The sum of these enhancements is reflected today in both the quality and level of services offered and in the variety available to passengers – a variety summed up in the airline’s slogan “WELCOME TO YOUR WORLD”.