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SAUDI ARABIA - Transport

Ibrahim S. Koshy



An airline captain and 30-year veteran of the industry, Ibrahim S. Koshy is CEO of SAUDIA. Koshy is leaving his mark on the ongoing accelerated transformation to improve operational efficiencies and to transform SAUDIA digitally. He is an alumnus of ERAU in the US and Cranfield in the UK. He serves as a board member on regional and international aviation safety bodies.

"SAUDIA differentiates itself by offering unmatched comfort and hospitality and maintaining the highest standards of quality and excellence."
Despite having one of the youngest fleets in the world, SAUDIA has already gained recognition as a five-star global airline, providing passengers with the ultimate in comfort.
What does the MoU between SAUDIA, SDAIA, and SCAI entail, and how will digitalization enhance operations for SAUDIA?

This partnership is set to explore means to deploy AI-powered solutions that will enhance the airline’s operations. The MoU entails plans to develop AI applica-tions and improve customer experiences using the latest emerging technologies and utilize technology to process spoken languages across SAUDIA’s customer care applications and other digital channels. Our digital transformation is not only focused on SAUDIA but across the group as well. Our digital lab team is always on top of technological trends and is currently developing some amazing technologically advanced products and services. In a post-COVID-19 world, human contact is still kept to a minimum, so digitalizing is the way forward. We have accelerated our digital transformation program through our “contactless travel journey” that we implemented since the start of the pandemic.

As the world of travel has gone back to normal. How is SAUDIA Airlines shaping its competitive advantages in a region full of fierce competition?

SAUDIA differentiates itself by offering unmatched comfort and hospitality and maintaining the highest standards of quality and excellence. Operating one of the youngest fleets in the world, we provide our guests with superior customer confidence and comfort. While the industry trend is for airlines to pare down services in order to reduce costs, SAUDIA is moving in the opposite direction and investing in our products and services. The safety and hygiene standards we implemented during the pandemic have served to improve our guests’ experience, and while we are not required to apply them as stringently as we did at the height of the pandemic, there are measures we have maintained to ensure our guests feel comfortable throughout their journey. We also are continually improving our onboard services and culinary offerings through regularly launching innovative services and expanding our network to new destinations. Our proactivity is winning us the confidence of our passengers. One of our main objectives is to improve Saudi Arabia’s connectivity with the rest of the world, which brings a host of benefits for the Kingdom and its people, as well as our international guests. Firstly, we are meeting the needs of a Saudi public whose economic power and interest in worldwide travel are increasing exponentially. At the same time, we are also making it easier than ever for people from all corners of the globe to visit the Kingdom and experience its unique heritage and dynamic arts, culture, events, and entertainment offerings.

Tourism is a pillar of Vision 2030, and travelers are eager to discover the Kingdom. How is SAUDIA aiding in accelerating the sector?

Our aim is to be the wings of Vision 2030. Previously, SAUDIA connected the Kingdom to the rest of the world; however, now our new mandate is to bring the world to Saudi Arabia. We are committed to supporting Vision 2030’s objectives to attract 100 million tourists and 30 million umrah pilgrims to the Kingdom annually. We are actively contributing to the development of various sectors including tourism and logistics, in addition to im-proving the Kingdom’s connectivity with the rest of the world with the long-term objective of strengthening the country’s economy; furthermore, we actively seek partnerships to accelerate the sector by supporting international sports events such as Formula-E, Saudi Cup Equestrian Race, and Rage on the Red Sea, the international Heavyweight Championship. We will fully support the government’s efforts to boost connectivity and facilitate movement between the Kingdom’s regions and strengthen its relationship with other countries. We are also committed to supporting Saudi Arabia’s transformation into a global logistics hub with our new state-of-the-art hub at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA), which will allow us to increase transit travelers through a special stopover visa that we will be implementing soon. The new Al Fursan Lounge that was launched in 2021 accommodates international travelers flying from or transiting via KAIA in Jeddah.



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