15 MENA airlines sign 10-year distribution contract with Amadeus

The agreement with Amadeus was signed on Wednesday.
Updated 08 December 2017
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15 MENA airlines sign 10-year distribution contract with Amadeus

Fifteen airlines from the Middle East and North Africa entered on Wednesday into a 10-year framework agreement with Amadeus for distribution services, negotiated and led by the Arab Air Carriers Association (AACO). The airlines participating in the framework agreement to date carried 110 million passengers in 2016, meaning that these airlines will serve over 1 billion passengers during the 10-year duration of the agreement. The contract follows a previous 10-year agreement with 13 AACO airlines, signed in 2008.
For the participating AACO airlines, the partnership will drive economies of scale, technological efficiencies and support the airlines’ vision for distribution in the future. Participating AACO airlines will work with Amadeus to explore how to further develop and maximize the potential of Amadeus’ travel agency network, including enhanced merchandising and retailing capabilities.
The agreement comes after an 18-month process during which AACO’s “taskforce for future distribution strategies” carefully assessed a variety of technology and distribution providers according to their ability to support the long-term needs of its member airlines.
Abdul Wahab Teffaha, secretary general, AACO, said: “This efficient, long-term agreement represents a landmark for a number of AACO members with a technology partner dedicated to supporting new business strategies. This framework secures a solid foundation for those AACO members as they continue to innovate and it will remain open for additional member airlines that wish to join in the future.”
Julia Sattel, senior vice president, airlines, Amadeus said: “We are proud to further deepen our partnership with AACO and its member airlines. Amadeus’ focus on innovation and technology, combined with a partnership approach were in close alignment with the requirements identified by the members of AACO’s taskforce for future distribution strategies. Amadeus’ commitment to evolving airline distribution is demonstrated through its recent IATA NDC Certification as an aggregator and our extensive work on the IATA One Order standard. This deal represents an enormous achievement for Amadeus.”
Maher Koubaa, vice president, head of airline group, Middle East and Africa, Amadeus added: “Airlines in the Middle East have been some of the most successful in the industry over the past decade. Whether their focus is on providing travelers with a premium product, capitalizing on the region as a hub between Asia and Europe, or pursuing a partnership approach, airlines see the value in an omnichannel distribution strategy, to maximize their sales with travelers across the world.”


KAUST honors 243 students at graduation ceremony

Updated 17 December 2018
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KAUST honors 243 students at graduation ceremony

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) awarded 243 master’s degree and Ph.D. candidates with their diplomas during its ninth commencement ceremony on the KAUST campus on Friday. 

The ceremony was presided over by members of the KAUST Board of Trustees, including Board Chairman Khalid A. Al-Falih, minister of energy, industry and mineral resources and chairman of Saudi Aramco, and attended by senior KAUST leadership and faculty members. 

Commencement 2018 highlights included the official inauguration of KAUST’s third president, Dr. Tony Chan, and conferral of the university’s first honorary doctoral degree to Ali Ibrahim Al-Naimi, former chairman of the KAUST board of trustees, former minister of petroleum and mineral resources and commencement 2018 speaker. The event also included remarks by 2018 student speaker and KAUST Ph.D. graduate Nada Aljassim, the first KAUST Gifted Student Program participant to receive her Ph.D. from the university. 

In his chairman’s address, Al-Falih said the event was “an occasion … to mark a number of milestones and celebrations … In the past year alone, KAUST has … achieved important advances in research, education, innovation and talent, all while making an impact … in Saudi Arabia and globally.” 

“KAUST has taken its place on the world’s scientific and academic landscape,” Al-Naimi said. “Ideas and innovations (from KAUST) … make a difference when they soar above our nation and around the world.” 

“As a university, we are looking forward to our next decade,” said President Chan, a member of the university’s Board of Trustees for seven years. “In my new position, I am really looking forward to the opportunity and challenge and becoming engaged with Saudi society in general.” 

President Chan noted one aim of his presidency is “to align KAUST’s mission with the Kingdom’s priorities — and in particular Vision 2030. The Kingdom is moving to diversifying the economy and toward innovation and technology, which align with KAUST.” 

Chan said: “We have formed a NEOM Center of Excellence at KAUST with the express purpose of working together with NEOM. One of our senior faculty members, Professor Carlos Duarte, is on the advisory board for the Red Sea Project. We have a KAUST Red Sea Research Center and we are located next to the Red Sea, which is a treasure for the Kingdom. We consider it one of our missions to support the projects going on in the Kingdom.” 

“KAUST is still very young, but we see ourselves as contributing to the innovation and economic development of the country and the development of human talent,” he added.