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Saudi Airlines rebrands, joins SkyTeam

Alliance welcomes first airline from Middle East as 16th member.
NEWS, Aviation

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SkyTeam, the global airline alliance, has 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.”

Prior to joining SkyTeam, Saudia embarked on a four-year turnaround program, which will be completed by 2013. As a key part of this programme, 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.

“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.”

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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