PIF unit buys 10 helicopters from Airbus in tourism push

PIF unit buys 10 helicopters from Airbus in tourism push
THC has agreed to buy 10 H125 helicopters from Airbus as it broadens its tourism offering. (Supplied)
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Updated 20 August 2020

PIF unit buys 10 helicopters from Airbus in tourism push

PIF unit buys 10 helicopters from Airbus in tourism push
  • THC CEO Arnaud Martinez: THC has taken a massive step in expanding its fleet and implementing its ambitious operational plan
  • Arnaud Martinez: We are proud to be contributing to the advancement of Saudi Arabia’s tourism and aviation industries through our innovative air transport services

LONDON: A company owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has agreed to buy 10 H125 helicopters from Airbus as it broadens its tourism offering.
It is part of a plan by the Riyadh-based commercial operator The Helicopter Company (THC) to boost its fleet and roll out new services across the Kingdom “related to scenic tourism and aerial work such as filming, banner towing, and surveying.”
“THC has taken a massive step in expanding its fleet and implementing its ambitious operational plan,” said THC CEO Arnaud Martinez. “We are proud to be contributing to the advancement of Saudi Arabia’s tourism and aviation industries through our innovative air transport services that guarantee passengers a one-of-a-kind experience to relish the beauty of the Kingdom from above.”
Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in developing its tourism sector and last year started to issue tourism visas on arrival for the first time.


German startup to help Saudi hotels utilize empty spaces

German start-up NeuSpace, established during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to help hotels overcome a slump in occupancy rates, is now working in Saudi Arabia. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
German start-up NeuSpace, established during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to help hotels overcome a slump in occupancy rates, is now working in Saudi Arabia. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
Updated 21 January 2021

German startup to help Saudi hotels utilize empty spaces

German start-up NeuSpace, established during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to help hotels overcome a slump in occupancy rates, is now working in Saudi Arabia. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
  • COVID-19 pandemic has brought slump in average hotel occupancy rates in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: A German start-up established during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to help hotels overcome a slump in occupancy rates is now working in Saudi Arabia.

NeuSpace aims to assist operators in coming up with new ways to generate revenue from their empty spaces.

Anne Schaeflein, a co-founder of the Dusseldorf-based company, told Arab News: “For hotel properties still in the completion phase, we feel it is best to evaluate the perspective, and to diversify pre-opening.

“To be empathic to the existing (or planned) infrastructure and environment of the location, we run a feasibility study and look at how the space could be best used from an ROI (return on investment) as well as community perspective. Turning function spaces into day nurseries, delis, and bakeries,” she said.

Anne Schaeflein, Collaborative Founder NeuSpace. (Supplied)

According to the company’s website, it aims to address the needs of hotel investors, operators, and the wider community surrounding the property.

“We deliver quick solutions to retain some of the hospitality jobs, and add others, and offer attractive living space for communities, all within one to four months, depending on the individual projects,” the company said.

A report in November by global hotel data analysis company, STR, found that the average occupancy rate in Saudi Arabia was 34.7 percent, down 38.7 percent on the previous year. As a result, the average revenue per available room fell 35.5 percent year-on-year to SR172.70 ($46.05).

Looking to the future, real estate consultancy firm, Colliers International, has forecast that average occupancy rates in Riyadh and Alkhobar will be 55 percent, 51 percent in Jeddah and Madinah, and 37 percent in Makkah.

On innovative solutions, Schaeflein said the startup’s concept was formed around the key pillars of value preservation, creating new housing space, and innovative housing concepts.

She pointed out that the company looked at how areas such as roof gardens or social spaces could be used by the wider community, or how pools and spas not being used by guests could be utilized by local residents.

NeuSpace also studies how back-office services and facilities could be offered to residents to better utilize staffing levels. This could include offering dog-minding services, turning rooms into office or retail areas, or renting out restaurant and entertainment spaces when footfall was low.