Jeddah, 10 January 2011 – Saudi Arabian Airlines, the flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, today signed an agreement to join SkyTeam in 2012. The airline will be SkyTeam’s first member from the Middle East, adding 35 new destinations to the alliance network.
Saudi Arabian Airlines complements the SkyTeam network by offering customers access to destinations across the Middle East not currently served by SkyTeam members. Through Saudi Arabia’s major hubs of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, travelers can connect to new destinations on the Arabian Peninsula, the Indian subcontinent and Northern Africa. Examples are Alexandria, Aden, Colombo and Islamabad.
SkyTeam members will have access to new potential customers from the region as Saudi Arabian Airlines offers direct flights to Europe, Asia, Africa and the USA. Customers can transfer to SkyTeam partner flights via hubs such as Paris, Rome, Nairobi and New York. SkyTeam partner China Southern also offers regular connections to Asia from Jeddah.
Turnaround program to improve the product offering
Saudi Arabian Airlines is fully focused on its four-year turnaround program to be completed by 2013. Key elements of this plan include modernization of its infrastructure, restructuring of its domestic and international network and implementing its fleet modernization plan through the purchase of the most advanced aircraft.
Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Mr. Khalid Al-Molhem, remarks that joining SkyTeam will add value to the carrier’s services: “The SkyTeam network provides our customers with excellent connections to most parts of the world.” He added: “Through the exchange of services and knowledge between all member airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines can achieve qualitative improvements, made available to our customers. These include airport services, ground services and First Class and Business Class passenger lounges.”
Leo van Wijk, Chairman of SkyTeam, said: “Saudi Arabian Airlines is a significant player in the Middle East and covers a considerable part of the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian subcontinent. Its membership in SkyTeam will enable us to compete more efficiently within the region.”
Marie-Joseph Malé, Managing Director of SkyTeam, added: “Announcing our first new member in 2011 clearly illustrates the continuing global expansion that we accelerated last year. In 2010 China Eastern and its daughter company Shanghai Airlines, China Airlines, Garuda Indonesia and Aerolíneas Argentinas all confirmed their future membership in SkyTeam. Adding Saudi Arabian Airlines will definitely complement our network offer to our customers.”
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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 420 lounges worldwide. The thirteen members are: Aeroflot, Aeroméxico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Southern, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Kenya Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, TAROM and Vietnam Airlines. SkyTeam offers its 385 million annual passengers a worldwide system of over 12,500 daily flights to 898 destinations in 169 countries. www.skyteam.com
About Saudi Arabian Airlines
Since its establishment in 1945, Saudi Arabian Airlines has been providing its services to transport passengers between 26 domestic and 55 international destinations. At present, it carries about 19 million passengers annually. During the last five years, Saudi Arabian Airlines has been undergoing a series of development activities on the basis of a strategic development plan that includes modernization of technical infrastructure in administrative, technical and financial sectors. It also applies modern technology to develop its customer services. As a result, it has brought about qualitative improvement in services at call centers and automatic services such as issuance of tickets and boarding passes through machines installed at airports and sales offices. It has also upgraded its Internet services to provide services such as reservation, ticket purchase, seat selection and issuance of boarding passes. Saudia continues efforts to modernize its fleet by acquiring 88 new aircraft including 35 Airbus A320s, 15 A321s, eight A330s, 12 Boeing 777s and eight Boeing Dreamliners. www.saudiairlines.com