Saudia targets 200 destinations

Updated 12 February 2014

Saudia targets 200 destinations

Saudi Arabian Airlines has announced plans to expand its operations to more than 200 destinations worldwide with minimum connections.

“We want to reinforce our presence in Europe, North America, Asia, especially in China and Indonesia as well as to open new markets in Russia, Mexico, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan and Czech Republic,” said Abdul Aziz Al-Hazmi, CEO of Saudia.
He was addressing a joint press conference with Michael Wisbrun, managing director of SkyTeam.
He said Saudia joined SkyTeam, a 19-member global alliance of airlines in May 2012, as part of its efforts to offer high quality services to passengers.
“We have implemented the alliance’s premium service SkyPriority in almost all its stations and its value customers have started enjoying it,” he said.

With the launch of SkyTeam’s Round the World booking tool, Saudia customers are now able to book their round the world tickets in a couple of clicks on the alliance’s website for attractive prices, including a 10 percent fare promotion currently running until March 31.
Within a month we will be resuming our flight to Manchester and later to Los Angeles, operating three flights weekly to both destinations,” Al-Hazmi told Arab News.
“We are also consolidating our network with the support of SkyTeam.”

He welcomed the arrival of two domestic operators.
“This an opportunity for passengers to compare our services with that of other airlines.”
He said the new operators would help meet the growing domestic demand.
The CEO emphasized Saudia’s plan to make more seats available on its flights in the domestic sector.
“We know the demand is more than our capacity,” he added.
Saudia has set out a strategy to capture a market share of 22 million from 28.5 million domestic passengers by 2020.

Wisbrun emphasized the important position of Saudia in his alliance as it offers connections to Saudi, Middle Eastern and Asian markets. SkyTeam membership helped Saudia to increase its revenue, he said and disclosed plans to establish a SkyTeam Lounge at Dubai airport in January 2015.

“At SkyTeam we seek to improve the customer experience by implementing network-wide customer products and services that deliver seamless travel.
He said the total number of passengers carried by SkyTeam member airlines reached more than 550 million.
“We offer 15,000 flights daily to more than 1,000 destinations in 178 countries,” he said.
Garuda Indonesia will join SkyTeam next month as the alliances 20th member.

Wisbrun spoke about consolidation of airlines in the US, Europe and other continents while stressing the importance of airline alliances to improve customer services and reduce corporate expenditures.

SkyTeam flights cover about 90 percent of the globe, providing easy connections to destinations worldwide, he said.

Asked whether the alliance has plans to admit more members, he said: “Our focus now is on improving services provided by existing airlines and their cost-effectiveness and ensuring smooth transfer of passengers between the member airlines. Increasing the number will create complexities.”

Oil surges, stock futures slip after attack on Saudi facility

Updated 12 min 52 sec ago

Oil surges, stock futures slip after attack on Saudi facility

  • Oil prices surge on fears of global supply disruption
  • Safe haven gold, Japanese yen rise, stock futures slip
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Oil prices surged to six-month highs on Monday while Wall Street futures fell and safe-haven bets returned after weekend attacks on Saudi Arabia’s crude facilities knocked out more than 5% of global oil supply.
US crude futures were last up 11% at $61.10 a barrel, coming off highs on expectations other global oil suppliers would step in to lift output. Brent crude soared 13% at $68.06 after earlier rising to $71.95.
Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebel group had claimed responsibility for the attack, which hit the world’s biggest oil-processing facility but a senior US official told reporters on Sunday that evidence indicated Tehran was behind it.
The attacks heightened investor worries about the geopolitical situation in the region and worsening relations between Iran and the United States.
Those fears powered safe-haven assets with prices for gold climbing 1% in early Asian trade to $1,503.09.
Moves in Asian share markets were small, however, with Japan shut for a public holiday.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was a tick lower at 515.4. Australian shares were down 0.1% while South Korea’s KOSPI was a tad higher.
E-Minis for the S&P 500 were off 0.4% while those for the Dow eased 0.3%.
“If risk appetite collapses due to fears of worsening middle east tensions in the wake of any retaliation to the drone attacks, some emerging markets could face a double whammy of pressures,” said Mitul Kotecha, Singapore-based senior emerging markets stratgist at TD Securities.
“In Asia, the most risk sensitive currencies are Indian rupee, Indonesian rupiah and Philippine peso .”

Bonds and currencies
Among major currencies, the Saudi news pushed the yen up 0.4% to 107.64 per dollar while the Canadian dollar rose 0.5% in anticipation of higher oil prices.
The euro was little moved near a three-week top while the pound hovered near Friday’s two-month highs. That left the greenback down 0.15% at 98.105 against a basket of six major currencies.
The risk-sensitive Australian dollar was down 0.5% against the yen, snapping nine straight days of gains. The kiwi dollar slipped to a one-week low on the yen.
“One immediate question this (attack) poses for bond markets is whether a further rise in the inflation expectations component of bond yields — which have proved historically sensitive to oil prices — will give this month’s sharp bond market sell-off fresh impetus,” Attrill added.
“Or will safe haven considerations dominate to drive yields lower? Watch this space.”
In early Asian trading, futures for US 10-year Treasury notes rose 0.3%, indicating yields may slip when cash trading begins.
Global bonds were sold off last week, sending yields higher, led by a broader risk rally on hopes the United States and China would soon end their long trade war. Better-than-expected US retail sales data also boosted sentiment.
Chinese data for industrial production, retail sales and fixed asset investment will be released later on Monday, which could help set the tone for this week’s trade.
Investors also await the outcome of the US Federal Reserve’s policy meeting on Wednesday at which it is widely expected to ease interest rates and signal its future policy path.