Published: Feb 28, 2011 00:51 Updated: Feb 28, 2011 00:56
JEDDAH: Khaled Al-Molhem, director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines, has emphasized his organization's strategic plans to become a customer-oriented airline, by improving its services in all operation areas matching SkyTeam alliance standards.
"We are also making efforts to achieve a 4-star airline rating from Skytrax," he said while opening the airline's annual conference at Jeddah Hilton, which will focus on new developments and challenges in the airline industry.
Al-Molhem hoped the two-day conference would contribute to realizing Saudia's strategic goals such as becoming a 4-star airline, achieving operational efficiency and organizational effectiveness, increasing profit and becoming a full SkyTeam member.
The conference comes a month after the national carrier signed an initial agreement with SkyTeam. "That accord was a landmark achievement as it will open new vistas of cooperation between Saudia and other international airlines that are members of SkyTeam and expand Saudia's global reach," Al-Molhem said.
SkyTeam membership not only brings opportunities for Saudi Airlines but also challenges as it has to improve services in line with the alliance's standards. Saudia has taken a number of important steps to become a leading airline in the world. At present it transports 19 million passengers to more than 80 domestic and international destinations on a fleet of 130 aircraft.
It has signed multibillion dollar deals with Airbus and Boeing to purchase 88 new state-of-the-art aircraft and 41 of these aircraft have already joined its domestic and international fleet. It has also shifted to the Amadeus passenger management system and developed its website to provide various automatic services such as reservation, ticket purchase, seat and meal selection, boarding pass issuance and electronic payment.
Al-Molhem highlighted Saudia's strong points. "Being the national carrier of the world's largest oil exporter and Middle East's largest economy, Saudi Arabian Airlines is strategically well positioned and has the potentials to make big gains," he said. Saudi Arabia, being the land of the two holy mosques, receives millions of Muslim pilgrims from around the world throughout the year.
He referred to the cut-throat competition in the industry as regional and international airlines compete with one another by offering attractive services to win customers.
Karen Post, an American branding expert, gave a lecture on "Brand Onomics" and said branding was essential to create loyalty, instill confidence, attract talents, get premium pricing, and making choice easy. "All services of the airlines should be branded and standardized to provide integrated services," she said.
Post narrated a story of how a Western airline won the heart of customers by attaching gifts along with their baggage on a Christmas Day. "We should try to look different by providing innovative services," she pointed out. "We must make passengers remember our services."
Steve Martin, a sales linguist, spoke about the need to improve communication with customers to know their requirements and achieve their satisfaction. "We should ensure quality throughout the lifecycle of a customer," he told the conference attended by Saudia's country managers and regional managers.
What a joke !!! The thought of Saudia becoming "customer oriented" is too much to believe !! That ain't NEVER going to happen.
AHMED ALQAHTANI Feb 28, 2011 18:28 Report abuse
ANJU Feb 28, 2011 18:32 Report abuse
SAUDIA AIRLINES IS THE FIRST WE PREFER TO GO INDIA ALWAYS ! The quality standards maintained are good though the behaviour of the air hostesses is not too good. They just perform their duties as if they are mechanical robots . No one would ever care if u ask for a blanket,or an extra glass of water of if you have any problem with the seating arrangement .They also need to improve the gifts given to kids as these days they hardly are given any.I would suggest Saudia Airlines to improve in these aspects as they are one of the best airlines here and we always love travelling by Saudia Airlines.
ANJU Feb 28, 2011 18:34 Report abuse
SAUDIA AIRLINES IS THE FIRST WE PREFER TO GO INDIA ALWAYS ! The quality standards maintained are good though the behaviour of the air hostesses is not too good. They just perform their duties as if they are mechanical robots . No one would ever care if u ask for a blanket,or an extra glass of water of if you have any problem with the seating arrangement .I would suggest Saudia people to improve in these aspects as they are one of the best airlines here .
INTELLECTUAL MIND Feb 28, 2011 21:21 Report abuse
Are we talking abt 2037????
NISHTHAR IDROOS Feb 28, 2011 21:25 Report abuse
Itâ™s a lot of work, not impossible, but a great deal of work needs to be done. In a service operation, perceptions are of paramount importance, more so in the case of an airline, whose mere product offering revolves round the positioning of the product by the corporate and perceiving it as anticipated by the consumer. The comparative and competitive advantage must be apparent for the customer in terms of discernable benefits. A mismatch of the two will not bring the desired benefit; this is why customer orientation is a challenging Marketing exercise.
NADEEM Feb 28, 2011 21:27 Report abuse
This will be a joke. High prices, bad schedules and mostly no direct flights to major cities of Pakistan specilay Lahore. How come this will be possible,?
SANDMAN Feb 28, 2011 21:28 Report abuse
Why aim lower than what should be the ultimate target of becoming a 5 star carrier.
MUSSOKHATTAK Feb 28, 2011 21:28 Report abuse
I wonde where they will start from.... I know ... their attitude !!!!!
A TRAVELLER Feb 28, 2011 21:31 Report abuse
JOKE OF THE YEAR !!! That rude & highly unproductive staff can never be a customer oriented airline. The uneasy seats, bad food & service, SAPTCO works better than SAUDI AIRLINES.
GILBERT Feb 28, 2011 22:20 Report abuse
More improvement. Made a ticket refund last December 25, 2020 at Saudia Morouj office. Even sent email to their customer service. To-date no reply was received NO amount received as refund of SR 280 to my VISA Card. How wonderful is Saudia's service!
YA Feb 28, 2011 22:22 Report abuse
Saudia should extend offering dates to economy class in addition to business and first class passengers. This will not cost much but it will spread good culture around the world.
MOHAMED TALIB Feb 28, 2011 22:23 Report abuse
We read good things about Saudia only on newspapers. In reality, the Airline is OK; but the staff are just unpleasant to deal with. In almost all departments in Saudia, the staff do not come forward to help the passengers. My claim can be investigated by any Saudia's senior official by visiting Jeddah airport anonymously seeking assistance with any Saudia staff - my claim can be proven instantly. The staff never ever smile at the passengers; whereas I love flying with Emirates or any other airline; where the service is too good. Saudia services to countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka are worst. Passengers are not given respect. In my 25 years of career in Saudi Arabia, I had extensively used Saudia Airlines; but I must say that Saudi is not as before - staff needs to be disciplined.
ISMAIL SAADIQ Feb 28, 2011 22:27 Report abuse
This is possible. They have the money, the people and large market. What is missing is professional management
AHMED TAHA Feb 28, 2011 22:32 Report abuse
looking at the way they treat passengers, it will take years for them to become a customer oriented airline. They have to improve dramatically in all areas such as ticketing staff in the airport, waitilist service, inflight attendants etc.
KHAN Feb 28, 2011 22:37 Report abuse
First and important step, take care of customer at CHECK-IN counter, where we treat as animals..
No information, No one listen, long & unmoving ques, treating roughly, if passenger ask information, and many more....
Hope and pray that saudi airlines will act before it too late to recover it's prestige.
SAJEED Feb 28, 2011 22:39 Report abuse
I love travelling Saudi Airlines for their neatness and timings. But to reach to a respectable standard, as that is their vision, the big issue they should address is Customer Management. Introduction of many E-services are really appreciated and it is indeed steps taken forward for better management and service. But, unless they start to give the proper respect to passengers in airport, whatever done will go negated. At times we need to wait like 3-5 hrs at immigration and the condition there is pathetic with small area and few counters. Good luck Saudi Airlines and wish to see you a leader in all services.
IMTIYAZ L Feb 28, 2011 23:04 Report abuse
This article should be called Joke of the Day. I have been a loyal customer of Saudia for the past eight years but the last two years have been so disappointing that I have been forced to switch even for local travel. They have simply lost ethics of customer care and I have lost all hope that they can ever improve. They have some the most arrogant and least helpful staff you can ever find in an airline.
EMAD Feb 28, 2011 23:06 Report abuse
SAUDIA will never be a customer-oriented airline as long as they don't take care of their employees first. Low pay and bad treatment causes bad attitude among employees and that will be affecting the customers. First take care of your employees and then talk about providing services.
MOHAMMED Feb 28, 2011 23:08 Report abuse
Saudi Arabian Airlines is the only airlines in the world not caring or respecting their customer at all. I fly several times now I dont fly from saudia due to stupid customer care representatives behaviour. Saudi arabian customer care individuals must get training from other airlines individuals. Saudia thinking we are stupid and they dont care about the customers, if they dont have a customers how they will survive? first tell saudi staff behaviour themself as a human been.
MOHAMMED TAKSIM Feb 28, 2011 23:09 Report abuse
A load of rubbish!!!! Just observe them asleep at the counter during hajj. there is no customer service culture.... wait till competition catches up with you, you bumbling fools.
SALEM Feb 28, 2011 23:09 Report abuse
The day Saudia becomes customer oriented, I promise, I will make Umrah! Just like I did when my Grandmother died!!!
A SAUDIA PASSENGER Feb 28, 2011 23:10 Report abuse
Saudi airlines has to improve it's service, it is not like before, it's standard has come down in the recent years. They are not taking proper care of the passengers particularly in the flights and for reservations. They have to improve a lot. I hope, wish and urge Saudia to progress in the right direction.
UMAR Feb 28, 2011 23:12 Report abuse
I think Saudia is missing on it's basics and innovation is not the current requirement. Punctuality / Customer Handling / Politeness / Service / & Bsuiness sense should be the focus. I personally prefer Saudia only becuase of It's Flag and Halal/ No Alcohol advantage. But carry Scars from it's services enough to fill volumes.
WAQAS Feb 28, 2011 23:14 Report abuse
Well my recent experience on a domestic trip resulted in complete loss of faith in Saudi Airline. Just to have an idea, I was literally told the following: "Your reservation has been cancelled by the Computer not us!" They have branded themselves as the national flag carrier and is the first preference of the nationals. In terms of customer service, in my experience with NAS airways has always been better as compared to any other airways.
SYED Feb 28, 2011 23:16 Report abuse
Saudi Arabian Airlines can do much more than what is delivering now to its customers. A customer should get an unforgettable good experience with each of the interaction through out the interaction cycle with the airline staffs. In order to do that, the employees should be imparted with listening skills and continuous customer improvement programs. The first thing that can improve the services with little efforts that will give major impact on the image of the airlines is "Service with a smile". This is not only true for the airlines staffs but for everyone who is manning the airport as well. Saudia is known for his hospitality of guests especially for the pilgrims of holy mosques and that should start from the time one lands in the airport. A small welcome note such as " Welcome to SaudiArabia and enjoy your stay here" by the immigration official will do lot good for improving the Brand Saudi Arabia. Let there be customer feedback mechanism to improve the service levels. I would love to volunteer to help if Saudia wants to improve passenger experiences. With such a huge resources available, with the right mind set Saudia can fly high.
PETER Feb 28, 2011 23:17 Report abuse
the step comes late and I fear too late. What means to become customer orientated ? It means it was not like that so far. This should have been normal last decades. But as we all know it was not. Arrogant flight attendants, bad service, delays, no communication with clients ,etc...I do not know who is to blame for it but the fish smells always from its head. Best planes, best meals, best inflight entertainment is useless if the staff is behaving like a royal. Here you must start your efforts Sir. Why are Asian airlines so successful ? It is not the alcohol on board,it is the attitude of the people who have to understand what the words " to serve " mean.
DR SANTOSH NAVEEN Feb 28, 2011 23:17 Report abuse
until unless you are forced to travel, nobody travel by saudia. Worst services
MERLIN Feb 28, 2011 23:18 Report abuse
Not before time!
STEVE Feb 28, 2011 23:18 Report abuse
This story cheered me up - funniest thing I have heard in weeks; and the most unlikely to come true!
NADEEM Feb 28, 2011 23:20 Report abuse
We wish Saudi to be like this. First they should provide direct flights to Pakistan's largest city Lahore from Dammam.
NADEEM Feb 28, 2011 23:22 Report abuse
They should put electronic scanners inside the departure lounge gate before passenegrs are proceeding to aircraft instead of manualy checking. This will save lot of time for passengers.
A WELL WISHER Feb 28, 2011 23:23 Report abuse
I dont know what SKYTEAM alliance standards are , but i am sure before awarding this status to the airline , they should do a customer servey and make sure wether Saudi Airlines deserves that status or not. If i start poing out on complaints ,then there will be a bigger article than this one. If they really want to improve their services , the very first thing they should do is treat all the passangers equally regardless of their colour or nationality.If the management is thinking that all is well with Saudia then they are wrong.Buying new aircrafts in their fleet is not going to get them the business. they need to improve their services at CTOs and at the checkin counters.Many times the passangers are ill treated at the airport.
SHARAFAT ALI KHAN Feb 28, 2011 23:25 Report abuse
It is better late than never, I respect the hon'ble Dirctor General idea, but for this he should started from the root. First when a passanger goes to Saudia Terminal (Jeddah) he has no idea where is the Q for his destination spcially International flights. There is single Q in which all passengers of departure even whose flights are after 5-10 hours. So there must be desplay at every counter showing which flight the counter is dealing. Next, all of a sudden the employee leaves the seat, without telling he will come back or not, poor passenger after waiting a while has to change the Q from the beginning. When a passange reaches at the counter, and if he has a carton, he is told to wrap it by polythene, even that is well packed. So all time is wasted till he comes back with wrapped carton by inside terminal packaging company. It is the duty of supervisor to check in the Q who has the loose carton, while the passenger in Q should be asked to re-wrap it. This will save a lot of time.
JUNAID KHAN Feb 28, 2011 23:46 Report abuse
Well, it's good that the Airlines is thinking to improve their services. I would like to request them to pay more attention on their staff attitude towards passengers.
ABU MARYIUM Feb 28, 2011 23:46 Report abuse
Attitudes of the ground staff especially the check-in, at Jeddah Airport could improve for starters
MUHAMMAD HASAN Feb 28, 2011 23:48 Report abuse
I wish that this news is true. Want to quote an incident that happened a year ago. I had booked from Riyadh to Madinah for business class. The booking was confirmed but on the day they refused to give me seat in business class and offered me economy class. When I raised the concern they threatened me to throw me out of plane and called the security. I travelled in ecocnomy as for me reaching Madinah was more important than anything else. They never refunded me the amount they took for business class. Anyhow I have stopped taking Saudi Airlines for my international travel and if there is choice I will also stop while travelling within domestic. I think the above news item is just for the sake of news, nothing will change.
IMRAN Feb 28, 2011 23:49 Report abuse
What ever they do , nothing will gonna help, until they serve all the passengers irrespective of nationality in the same manner. saudia's most profitable route are south asia n southeast asia destinations. But they are sending the most old fleets and most inefficeient errogant cabin crews on thess route to serve the passangers. about the ground service, much worse than any 3rd world country local bus service counters. i'm flying saudia since i born n i want it to be one of the best carriers of the world. i would like Mr.Khaled Al-Molhem, director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines to fly in any guest class, in disguise as a regular passenger to any south asia destination, he will defenitely feel sorry for his airlines and for the passengers. please take EMIRATES as your example to follow, i hope u'll do well InshAllah. may Allah bless saudia.
SURI Feb 28, 2011 23:58 Report abuse
first saudia shall increase the working time of saudi airlines offieces,they are closing by 5pm. when we book for travelling they are demanding to show ticket 3-4 months before travel,I think this is too much
FAZAL AHMED (KKMC) Mar 1, 2011 00:01 Report abuse
The only good thing in Saudia Airlines is its airfare which is little cheaper than the other airlines, other than that everything is bad, specially on the Sub-continent sectors : Oldest aircrafts are being used, bad or no entertainment at all. The worst of all is its airhostesses (staff), they are so 'proud to serve you'! In order to achieve customer-oriented airline, Saudia need to train its inflight staff on communication skills and customer care. All the best!
MANA Mar 1, 2011 01:19 Report abuse
WE INDIANS LOVE TO TRAVEL WITH SAUDI AIRLINES BECAUSE: ============================================ 1. The airlines has very rare history of flight falling. 2. Saudi Airlines recites the "Qeraat of Quran" before take off. 3. No smoking or alcohal is allowed in the flight. 4. It is more better then our own country INDIAN airlines. 5. Halal food is served. 6. Gifts to the kids.
WHAT WE DON'T LIKE: ================== 1. Attitude of the staff is not good. Everybody thinks either they are VIPS especially Saudis. You cannot compare with Etihad or Singapore Airlines. 2. It is managed by the racist people so no competition in the service sector unlike Emirates are the leaders, who employes multinational staff. 3. People work as if they are Robots, not considering of customer satisfaction, lack of professional training to make the customers loyal to Saudi Airlines. 4. No extra water, or extra pillow or shawl is provided if required. Gulf Airlines provides. 5. If the flight is delayed, the airlines staff will not apologize politely, instead they behave like DICTATORS.
Qatar Airlines is already taken that place. Saudia can only think about it. Unless Saudi Airlines employs Multinational Lingual staff and change the attitude of all the Saudi Staff in Sky and on Ground. You can improve the frequency of flights and more number of destinations, but you cannot create a LOYAL PASSENGERS / CUSTOMERS for the Saudi Airlines.
Those who are loyal to some preferred airlines cannot become loyal to Saudi Airlines, they use it only in case their favourate airlines is not available or scheduled on so and so date.
ASTIG TWENTYTHREE Mar 1, 2011 01:25 Report abuse
Improving Saudia airline to be a customer oriented skyliner? this must be good!!! they need to lower the price of their tickets too! BUT I GUESS, IT'S THE IMMIGRATION'S ARRIVAL SYSTEM IN DAMMAM AIRPORT THAT NEEDS TO BE IMPROVED...UNTIL NOW, THEY'VE NEVER CHANGED...TOO SLOW, THEY ARE DOING IT INTENTIONALLY!!!!
NISHTHAR IDROOS Mar 1, 2011 01:29 Report abuse
I share the sentiments expressed by most, thats why I addressed the real issue challenging Saudi Arabian Airlines, its one of perception and can be addressed with the right inputs especially TRAINING of the people which is the nucleus. Can be done.
LUXMI DURYUDAN VERMA JAMES Mar 1, 2011 01:30 Report abuse
yes customer orientated, now the staff will be little bit less rude and a bit understanding.
TRAVELLING TRAVELLER Mar 1, 2011 01:33 Report abuse
Saudia is a national embarrasment. From not answering phones to rude staff, its never going to change. never in my life have I spent 7 hours trying to book flights, its a 10 minute job. Not with Saudia. Having flown to a south east asian country on the dirtest airplane, smoking in the cockpit, no tv, awful seats, bad service and food, I was embarrased and im not even a Saudi. Saudi needs huge reforms to compete on a world scale. They have NO idea, Cannot answer 1 phone in any city in the country (trust me I tried) but i wish them luck. Onwards and upwards.
TARIQ Mar 1, 2011 01:36 Report abuse
Saudia Airlines is not the problem. The problem is Saudi Arabia. Yes, everyone can make complaints about Saudia but what they are really voicing are complaints about Saudi. You will never change Saudia (from a customer service and international point of view) until you change the mind set of Saudi Arabia.