Jan. 02--JEDDAH -- Efforts are underway to privatize four major sectors of Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) this year, including Prince Sultan Aviation Academy and Saudia Private Airline.
Abdullah Al-Ajhar, vice president for public relations, said two other units earmarked for privatization in 2014 include medical services, which include a 400-bed hospital, and Saudi Airlines Real Estate Development Company.
Saudia has already privatized five units including catering, cargo, ground services and Saudia Aerospace Engineering Industries.
"This year will witness the privatization of about 70 to 80 percent of our strategic units."
He said the privatization efforts have enabled the organization to increase its revenues. The profits of ground services reached SR600 million while the Catering Company makes a profit of SR400 to SR600 million. Saudia cargo makes similar profits.
Speaking to Arab News, Al-Ajhar disclosed Saudia's plan to purchase 35 new aircraft to beef up services in the domestic sector.
The airline aims to transport 22 million passengers between Saudi cities by 2020.
"We are still in the planning stage. We have yet to determine the model and size of the new aircraft," he said.
He said Saudia would receive the remaining 20 aircraft of a previous 90-plane order within two years.
"These aircraft will have three classes and their business class will have sleeper beds."
Al-Ajhar called 2013 a year of outstanding achievements for the company.
"We have transported a record 25 million passengers in 2013 and expect to carry more than 26 million in 2014. The addition of 70 Airbus and Boeing aircraft to the fleet is another major achievement," he said.
He highlighted Saudia's efforts to improve services by upgrading its IT infrastructure and expanding self-service systems.
"There has been a 300 percent increase in the number of website users while our electronic sales have grown to SR2.7 billion."
Al-Ajhar said there were no serious complaints from customers about the airline's services.
"A survey conducted among passengers last year found that customer satisfaction was above 90 percent," he said.
Saudia's Facebook page reached 1 million hits this week.
"We welcome public interaction through social media. It will help us further improve our services," he said.
Copyright 2014 - Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) intends to purchase 50 new aircraft to beef up its domestic and international fleet network and is in talks with manufacturers Boeing and Airbus
Airline says the number of domestic passengers could top 28.5 million by 2020.
-- Mar. 9--JEDDAH -- The privatization of Saudi Arabian Airlines is progressing as planned, its director general has said. Khaled Al-Molhem added that the organization's core aviation...
Airline wants to capture a market share of 28.5 million domestic passengers by 2020.