Future of aviation tops the agenda at ATM Virtual

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Updated 14 May 2020

Future of aviation tops the agenda at ATM Virtual

Arabian Travel Market (ATM) has confirmed aviation industry veteran Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airlines, and Jozsef Varadi, CEO of budget airline Wizz Air, will speak at the inaugural ATM Virtual, which takes place from June 1 to 3.

According to the latest analysis from the International Air Travel Association (IATA), the COVID-19 crisis will see global airline passenger revenues drop by $314 billion in 2020, a 55 percent decrease compared to 2019. In a series of seminars and interviews led by aviation expert John Strickland, director of JLS Consulting, ATM Virtual will look at the measures airlines are undertaking to counteract the direct impact the pandemic is having on their business.

Sir Tim, who has dedicated 35 years to growing Emirates Airlines to become the largest long-haul airline in the world, and in the process has helped transform Dubai into a major global travel hub, will discuss his time spent at the company, and its response and the procedures implemented to deal with the current pandemic. 

The future strategy of Emirates, with a focus on making flying safer through technology implementation, will also be highlighted.

Complementing the lineup of aviation heavyweights is CEO of Wizz Air, Varadi. Thanks to the implementation of new regulations by the airline, Varadi ensured that Wizz Air was able to continue operating during the pandemic. 

A major discussion point during the event will be the opening of Wizz Air’s forthcoming subsidiary in Abu Dhabi, in partnership with Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company, which will further underscore its market position in the budget airline sector. 

Danielle Curtis, exhibition director ME, ATM, said: “The airline industry continues to face deteriorating conditions with global airline passenger revenues predicted to fall by over 55 percent in 2020. To address these issues, we have brought together two of the most influential figures in the airline industry to discuss their procedures and strategies for the future.”

In addition to the two speakers, a webinar by Cirium will break down the power of analytics in supporting business performance. Through decades of experience, Cirium has been instrumental in supporting aircraft manufacturers, airports, and airlines, among others, to shape the future of their businesses and support the travel industry.

ATM Virtual is an online travel event taking place across three days that will provide a platform for networking and one-to-one meetings with buyers, and extensive current insights from leading industry professionals, supporting the ATM community and wider travel and tourism industry in rebounding as quickly and efficiently as possible. All main stand holders and sharers will be able to set up 30-minute video meetings with registered buyers, and everyone will have full access to attend all of the live webinars and on-demand content including blogs and roundtables.

Saudi Payments helps society adapt to COVID-19

Updated 06 July 2020

Saudi Payments helps society adapt to COVID-19

Saudi Payments, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), has successfully highlighted the importance of the concept of electronic payment and popularized its use in society during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saudi Payments, which is also the operator of national payment systems, has standardized and organized online payments, enabling more than 23 million Mada card holders to access e-commerce platforms during curfew.

In line with the precautionary measures to combat COVID-19, SAMA, in cooperation with Saudi Payments and local banks, raised the limit of purchases through bankcards that use NFC technology (Mada Atheer) on point-of-sale (POS) devices from SR100 ($26) to SR300 per purchase, in order to avoid contact with contaminated surfaces.

As a result of these developments, the number of Mada online purchases increased to 20.8 million during the first quarter of this year, while the total number of Mada services for purchases via POS devices increased to 543 million during the same period. Moreover, the first quarter of this year witnessed an increase in the volume of Mada purchases through POS devices by about 67 percent, compared to the same period in 2019. The Mada online purchases witnessed an increase of 406 percent, compared to the first quarter of 2019.

The percentage of purchases through NFC technology constituted 79 percent of all POS purchases performed during the first quarter, with an increase of 263 percent, compared to the same period last year, while May 2020 recorded an increase in the total value of online purchases to reach SR3.7 billion, representing 18.1 million transactions. The total value of Mada POS purchases increased during the same month to reach SR23.4 billion, representing 159.4 million transactions. The total number of Mada cards used to pay online increased in May 2020 to reach 5.4 million.

April 2020 recorded a remarkable increase in the total value of sales via the internet reaching SR3 billion, constituting 12.7 million transactions. The total value of POS Mada purchases decreased as a result of the total curfew imposed during the same month to reach SR16.1 billion, representing 121.8 million transactions. The total number of Mada cards used to pay online during April of 2020 increased to 3.6 million.

The Cabinet in November 2019 approved SAMA’s request to establish the Saudi Payments Company, responsible for operations and the development of infrastructure of national payment systems. The company aims to ensure that all payments and financial transactions processed in the Kingdom are safe and secure.