27/09/2017 16:34 AST

At the World Airline Awards held at the Paris Air Show on June 20, Skytrax announced the world’s Top 100 Airlines in 2017, as voted by airline customers around the world.

The awards, described as “the Oscars of the aviation industry,” are the most coveted quality accolades for the world airline industry and a global benchmark of airline excellence.

Saudi Arabia’s national airlines surprised many industry pundits when it garnered a heap of awards at the ceremony. It was named the World’s Most Improved Airline, an award that reflects an airline’s quality improvement across the entire Airline Awards program.

his analyses an airline’s change within the global ratings, and its performance improvement in many of the award categories (e.g., airport service, cabin staff, catering, IFE, etc.) to identify the most improved airline over the last 12 months.

Previous winners of this prestigious award include Thai Airways, Air France, Garuda Indonesia, China Southern Airlines and Hong Kong Airlines. Saudi Airlines also garnered an award in the category, World’s Best Economy Class Airlines 2017.



So what happened?

This was an airline that was constantly picked apart by the media and by dissatisfied customers in the 1990s and the early part of this millennium. It was the butt of jokes among savvy travelers who preferred to use other international carriers when flying in and out of the Kingdom.

However, it was when a change in management resulted in a new CEO at the helm three years ago that the airline began to shift the tide. Saleh N. Al-Jasser who was appointed director general of Saudi Airlines in 2014 meant business; he had not come on board just to keep the CEO seat warm. He was going to use his time as the head of the airline to make a difference. And he did exactly that.

Also read: Oman Air, Saudi Arabian Airlines sign codeshare agreement

He began by streamlining operations, opening communication channels and most importantly getting rid of the ineffectual deadwood executives who had for so long treated the airline as their personal property. He brought in foreign expertise.

He delegated and held executives accountable, a practice long missing in the airline. Some of the staff used to the previous methods of running the ship were obviously not too pleased with this change in direction, but that did not deter Al-Jasser.

He replaced an aging fleet with modern aircraft to keep abreast of passenger demands. He enforced the priority of customer service that is beginning to show in the attitude of the staff.



Airline’s surge

Al-Jasser and his team were unquestionably the dynamo that led to the airline’s surge in international rankings. Even though there were some early critics including members of the Shoura Council, they were soon silenced by the positive transformation that began to take place.

On 17 April 2016, Saleh Al-Jasser announced the launching of a new airline subsidiary that provides low cost services and caters to domestic travelers, Haj and Umrah pilgrims, and the rising number of tourists to Saudi Arabia, among other groups.

This announcement was made at a ceremony that included a number of chief executives of the strategic units of Saudi Arabian Airlines Company, specialized experts and journalists.

The airline’s first flight took off on September 23 of this year, a vision that has become a reality. The venture is part of Saudia Group’s SV2020 Transformation Strategy, which aims to elevate the group’s units into world-class organizations by 2020.

There are plans to privatize Saudia and Flyadeal in a single transaction, according to a local media report. The rest of Saudia businesses, which have not been privatized, are to be included in the 2020 plan.


Saudi Gazette

Saudi Arabian Airlines says could list cargo unit's shares next year

05/10/2017

Saudi Arabian Airlines could list shares in its cargo business next year as part of the state-owned carrier's privatisation plan, its top executive said on Thursday.

Cargo would be the thi

Reuters

Saudia receives four-star ranking from APEX

29/09/2017

Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA), has received a 4-star rating from the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX).

The Award Ceremony was held as part of the Apex Expo 2017, attended

Arabian Aero Space

Saudia unveils new low cost airline

18/04/2016

Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), the kingdom's national carrier, has announced the launch of a new low cost service, said a report.

The new airline, which has been named Flyadeal, will se

Trade Arabia

Ticker Price Volume
QNBK 120.95 306,407
SABIC 99.69 2,911,153
SHAKER 10.16 382,449
WALAA 29.83 602,347
ALMARAI 54.42 257,285
NADEC 30.22 212,768
STC 69.53 407,465
Ticker Price Change
UGB 0.39 0.00 (0.00%)
GLOBAL 0.00 0.00 (0.00%)
MARIN 0.00 0.00 (0.00%)
AINV 0.00 0.00 (0.00%)
TII 0.00 0.00 (0.00%)
Judge rules in favour of creditors in Dana Gas Islamic bond case

19/11/2017

A London High Court judge has ruled in favour of creditors in a dispute over whether United Arab Emirates energy company Dana Gas must repay $700 million of Islamic bonds.

Dana Gas had sai

Times of Oman

Mannai Corp to avail of Commercial Bank’s online trade portal

19/11/2017

Commercial Bank’s Transaction Banking Department has partnered with Mannai Corporation by implementing the bank’s Corporate Trade Portal. Commercial Bank’s Corporate Trade portal is a user-friendly p

Gulf Times

Dana Gas ready to import Iranian gas if supplies are 'reliable'

16/11/2017

Sharjah-based energy company Dana Gas says its affiliate Crescent Petroleum’s facilities are ready for the import of gas from Iran, should the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) indicate its willing

The National

Emaar Properties to raise $1.3 billion in development unit's IPO

16/11/2017

Emaar Development IPO-EMAA.DU, a unit of Dubai property firm Emaar Properties EMAR.DU, priced its initial public offer of shares below the mid-point of an indicative price range, valuing the deal at

Reuters

Jarir Appoints of the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors

16/11/2017

Jarir Marketing Company announces that The Board of Directors decided By Scrolling on 26/02/1439 corresponding to 15/11/2017 to appoint the Managing Director Mr. Abdullah bin Abdulrhman Al-Agil as a

Tadawul