Saudia carries 14 million passengers in six months

Updated 16 July 2014
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Saudia carries 14 million passengers in six months

Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) carried more than 14 million passengers on 94,000 flights during the first six months of this year, Acting Director General Abdul Aziz Al-Hazmi said on Tuesday. “During the same period we have achieved an on-time performance of 90.06 percent,” he said.
There was 11 percent increase in the number of passengers carried during the reporting period as it rose from 12,677,839 to 14,082,198. The number of flights operated by the airline during the period jumped by 8 percent from 87,389 to 94,069, he said.
Speaking about half yearly performance in the domestic sector, Al-Hazmi said Saudia carried 7.84 million passengers between the Kingdom’s cities against 7.41 million during the same period in 2013. It operated 59,404 domestic flights during the first half with an on-time performance of 90.83 percent.
Al-Hazmi highlighted the remarkable progress achieved by the domestic sector where the number of passengers grew by 5.8 percent and number of flights four percent compared to last year. “This reflects the success of our operation strategy, increasing flights between the major cities of Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Madinah and Abha,” he said.
Saudia has increased the number of its flights during the ongoing summer season to meet the needs of passengers and redistributed flights to different Saudi cities. “The domestic sector accounted for 67.89 percent of flights and 55.71 percent of passengers during the first half of 2014,” he pointed out.
On the international sector, Saudia carried 6.23 million passengers during the first half against 5.26 million during the same period in 2013, with an increase of 18.46 percent or 971,786 passengers. They were carried on 28,098 flights compared to 25,024 flights with an increase of 12 percent.
Al-Hazmi commended Saudia executives and employees for their hard work. “The remarkable increase in flights and passengers also came as a result of good planning, reducing the number of vacant seats. We have also increased the numbers of domestic and international flights,” he said.
He also underscored the success of the airline’s summer plan, adding that during the past month it carried a large number of passengers due to the peak Umrah season in Ramadan. “We have deployed senior executives at all major stations to supervise operations in the summer season.”
The airline has established special counters at all stations to take care of waitlisted passengers and met all requirements of operations, maintenance, catering, ground services and inflight services, he said.
“This good half yearly performance will have a positive impact on operations in the summer season, which continues until the end of August,” Al-Hazmi said. The arrival of new aircraft from Boeing and Airbus has played a big role in strengthening Saudia’s operations. The national flag carrier has received 74 of 90 state-of-the-art aircraft it had ordered from Airbus and Boeing.


Foreign investors hope India dials back policy shocks after Modi win

Updated 24 May 2019
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Foreign investors hope India dials back policy shocks after Modi win

  • Modi’s pro-business image and India’s youthful population have lured foreign investors
  • After Modi’s win, about a dozen officials of foreign companies in India and their advisers said they hoped he would ease his stance and dilute some of the policies

NEW DELHI: Foreign companies in India have welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election victory for the political stability it brings, but now they need to see him soften a protectionist stance adopted in the past year.
Modi’s pro-business image and India’s youthful population have lured foreign investors, with US firms such as Amazon.com , Walmart and Mastercard committing billions of dollars in investments and ramping up hiring.
India is also the biggest market by users for firms such as Facebook Inc, and its subsidiary, WhatsApp.
But from around 2017, critics say, the Hindu nationalist leader took a harder, protectionist line on sectors such as e-commerce and technology, crafting some policies that appeared to aim at whipping up patriotic fervor ahead of elections.

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“I hope he’s now back to wooing businesses,” said Prasanto Roy, a technology policy analyst based in New Delhi, who advises global tech firms.
“Global firms remain deeply concerned about the lack of policy stability or predictability, this has sent a worrying message to global investors.”
India stuck to its policies despite protests and aggressive lobbying by the United States government, US-India trade bodies and companies themselves.
Small hurdles
Modi was set to hold talks on Friday to form a new cabinet after election panel data showed his Bharatiya Janata Party had won 302 of the 542 seats at stake and was leading in one more, up from the 282 it won in 2014.
After Modi’s win, about a dozen officials of foreign companies in India and their advisers told Reuters they hoped he would ease his stance and dilute some of the policies.
Other investors hope the government will avoid sudden policy changes on investment and regulation that catch them off guard and prove very costly, urging instead industry-wide consultation that permits time to prepare.
Protectionism concerns “are small hurdles you have to go through,” however, said Prem Watsa, the chairman of Canadian diversified investment firm Fairfax Financial, which has investments of $5 billion in India.
“There will be more business-friendly policies and more private enterprise coming into India,” he told Reuters in an interview.
Tech, healthcare and beyond
Among the firms looking for more friendly steps are global payments companies that had benefited since 2016 from Modi’s push for electronic payments instead of cash.
Last year, however, firms such as Mastercard and Visa were asked to store more of their data in India, to allow “unfettered supervisory access,” a change that prompted WhatsApp to delay plans for a payments service.
Modi’s government has also drafted a law to clamp similar stringent data norms on the entire sector.
But abrupt changes to rules on foreign investment in e-commerce stoked alarm at firms such as Amazon, which saw India operations disrupted briefly in February, and Walmart, just months after it invested $16 billion in India’s Flipkart.
Policy changes also hurt foreign players in the $5-billion medical device industry, such as Abbott Laboratories, Boston Scientific and Johnson & Johnson, following 2017 price caps on products such as heart stents and knee implants.
Modi’s government said the move aimed to help poor patients and curb profiteering, but the US government and lobby groups said it harmed innovation, profits and investment plans.
“If foreign companies see their future in this country on a long-term basis...they will have to look at the interests of the people,” Ashwani MaHajjan, an official of a nationalist group that pushed for some of the measures, told Reuters.
That view was echoed this week by two policymakers who said government policies will focus on strengthening India’s own companies, while providing foreign players with adequate opportunities for growth.
Such comments worry foreign executives who fear Modi is not about to change his protectionist stance in a hurry, with one offical of a US tech firm saying, “I’d rather be more worried than be optimistic.”