Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) recently accepted the ‘Asia Pacific Airline Turnaround of the Year’ accolade during the Centre for Aviation Awards for Excellence (CAPA) gala in Singapore.
Receiving the coveted accolade on behalf of the airline was its CEO, Jaan Albrecht, and vice president of corporate communications, Fahad Bahdailah.
The award was judged on the basis of an existing airline that has turned around through innovative strategic changes and/or a restructuring exercise. SAUDIA was selected for its successful transformation, which has resulted in significant efficiency improvements, in-flight product upgrades, fleet renewal and an accelerated growth rate.
Saudi Arabia’s national flag carrier embarked on an ambitious transformation programme three years ago, which worked to improve its efficiency and product. The airline has since taken delivery of more than 70 aircraft, resulting in a young new fleet with new in-flight products and onboard services and culinary offerings. SAUDIA now has one of the youngest fleets in the world, with an average age of less than five years.
This year, SAUDIA has moved into a new terminal at its Jeddah hub for domestic operations, which will grow to include international flights next year. SAUDIA’s new strategy includes pursuing more sixth freedom traffic and inbound tourism as the airline expands its international operation.
Flying to more than 90 destinations worldwide, with a modern, mixed fleet of 155 narrow and widebodied aircraft, SAUDIA’s fleet is set to grow to more than 200 aircraft by 2020.