Saudia expands European network to Zurich

Saudia expands European network to Zurich
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Saudia expands European network to Zurich
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Updated 05 August 2022

Saudia expands European network to Zurich

Saudia expands European network to Zurich

Wednesday was an important day both for Saudia and Zurich airport, but more importantly for the connection between Saudi Arabia and Switzerland.

It was 12 years since it had last happened, but in the early afternoon of Aug. 3 the first flight from Riyadh arrived in Zurich.

In Riyadh, the Swiss Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Andre Schaller and Chief Commercial Officer Arved Nikolaus Von Zur Muehlen, as well as other senior airline executives and government representatives, formed the farewell committee.

In Zurich the welcoming committee included Adel Siraj S. Merdad, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Switzerland, Hesham Bindkhail, Saudia’s head of Europe operations, as well as senior representatives from Zurich airport and the Saudi tourism authority. The mood was convivial and Saudia officials and representatives of Zurich airport were excited.

“Saudia adding another important destination in Europe reflects Saudi Arabia’s great reforms of Vision 2030 guided by HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud,” Ambassador Adel Siraj S. Merdad said.

This new route has to be seen in the context of the airline’s air connectivity program where Saudia is expanding its network and destinations globally. In Europe alone, the airline has so far added three airports this year: Amsterdam, Barcelona and Zurich, as well as Malaga and Mykonos as seasonal destinations.

This will doubtless strengthen the relationship between the two countries. Merdad hopes that this new route will bring closer ties between people living in Switzerland and people living in Saudi Arabia.

Beyond that, Saudia hopes that this new route will strengthen both tourism and business relations between the two countries. Saudia has daily direct flights between Jeddah and Geneva and Riyadh and Geneva.

Bindkhail expects the new route to bring tourists and business people to the Kingdom and vice versa to Switzerland — especially as Zurich is the major financial and business hub of the Alpine nation. Swiss ambassador Schaller said he hoped that many tourists from both countries would discover the natural beauty, cultural richness and warm hospitality of both Saudi Arabia and Switzerland.

Developing the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia is an integral part of Saudi Vision 2030, as is the development of the economy beyond the petroleum industry. The new route between Switzerland, a country boasting a GDP of $740 billion, and Saudi Arabia with its GDP of $700 billion (all 2020 figures) is an important milestone for these goals.

Saudia had been the Kingdom’s flag carrier for 77 years and has been called the “wings of Vision 2030.”

Like everywhere in Saudi Arabia these days, ambitions are high. The airline has one of the youngest fleets, with an average age of 6.5 years for its 144 aircraft, and is flying to 100 destinations (including seasonal destinations) — and counting.

Saudi Vision 2030 is bold and ambitious, as are the plans for the country’s flag carrier. According to Bindkhail the ambition is to grow Saudia massively and have the carrier connect people between countries such as India and Europe — allowing them a stopover in the Kingdom for a minimal fee.

This makes sense for Muslims choosing to undertake Umrah. It also gives travelers the opportunity to explore historic tourism sites such as AlUla, the future Red Sea resort destinations or to enjoy the Riyadh Season or experience the “Winter Wonderland.”

The new Riyadh-Zurich flight is another piece of the plan reflecting Saudia’s status as the “wings of vision 2030.”


Wyndham takes future of Ramada in its own hands with reintroduction of direct franchising of brand in KSA 

Wyndham takes future of Ramada in its own hands with reintroduction of direct franchising of brand in KSA 
Updated 21 sec ago

Wyndham takes future of Ramada in its own hands with reintroduction of direct franchising of brand in KSA 

Wyndham takes future of Ramada in its own hands with reintroduction of direct franchising of brand in KSA 

RIYADH: In alignment with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ strategy to expand its midscale offering in the Middle East, the company has reintroduced direct franchising and management rights for the Ramada brand in Saudi Arabia.

This announcement by the world’s largest hotel franchising company, with approximately 9,100 hotels across more than 95 countries, replaces exclusive master license agreements for the brand in the Kingdom.

With more than 900 hotels globally, Ramada is Wyndham’s largest brand in Europe, Middle East, Eurasia and Africa, with over 200 hotels in approximately 40 countries in the region, of which over 30 are in the Middle East and Africa alone.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the recently held World Travel and Tourism Global Summit in Riyadh, Dimitris Manikis, president EMEA at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, said: “With this announcement we, as Wyndham, are 100 percent responsible for the development of the Ramada brand in Saudi Arabia. It was the right time for us to step in and take the destiny or the future of Ramada in our own hands.  It’s a major step for us.”

He added: “This signifies our belief in the future of the Kingdom and that we want to have a direct relationship with our partners here.”

Going on to explain that Wyndham was in the franchise business where they worked with local partners, Manikis said, as a company, they are “asset light.”

“Just to give you an idea, out of the 9,000-plus hotels, we don’t own any hotels,” he said, adding: “We give our local partners the brand, we give them the technology, the distribution, and we support them through a franchise agreement.”

As part of the company’s expansion plan in Saudi Arabia, Wyndham has recently opened Ramada by Wyndham Riyadh King Fahd Road, its thirteenth hotel in the country.

According to Manikis, the real strength of Wyndham was in economy and midscale offerings, and that is where he believes the future is for Saudi Arabia.

“We are committed to contributing to the development of the Kingdom’s tourism through the expansion of our mid-market and economy presence, to help bring even more accommodation options to suit all visitors to the Kingdom,” Manikis said.

He added: “Five percent of the world travels luxury, 95 percent is ordinary people like me that want to travel and have a great and affordable experience.”

“Hospitality is not just about stay at the hotel. It’s about the restaurants. It’s about the theme parks. It’s about a holistic experience,” Manikis continued.  

Not surprisingly he said that, from an investment perspective, Wyndham is working with the Saudi government to look at the midscale and economy sector.

“I believe there’s a huge future for that sector in Saudi Arabia,” he reiterated.

Manikis was also very optimistic about the future of the hospitality sector in the Kingdom. “Saudi Arabia is on the map,” he said.

“You would be crazy not to have Saudi Arabia as one of your top three destinations for the next five years in terms of arrivals, in terms of adding your brands, investments and bringing people in. You cannot close your eyes to what is happening in Saudi Arabia at this point, you just cannot ignore it.”

Moving on to talk about the hospitality industry in general, Manikis said it was one of the most resilient industries in the world. “We survived COVID-19 but we lost valuable people, we lost enormous talent,” he said. “Our number one priority now is to bring the talent back,” he concluded. 


Oil Updates — Crude climbs after OPEC+ meeting; Japan sets price cap on Russian crude  

Oil Updates — Crude climbs after OPEC+ meeting; Japan sets price cap on Russian crude  
Updated 05 December 2022

Oil Updates — Crude climbs after OPEC+ meeting; Japan sets price cap on Russian crude  

Oil Updates — Crude climbs after OPEC+ meeting; Japan sets price cap on Russian crude  

RIYADH: Oil prices rose as much as 2 percent on Monday after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, held their output targets steady ahead of an EU ban and a price cap kicking in on Russian crude. 

At the same time, in a positive sign for fuel demand, more Chinese cities eased COVID-19 curbs over the weekend, though a patchwork easing in policies sowed confusion across the country on Monday. 

Brent crude futures were last up 72 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $86.29 a barrel at 0430 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures gained 70 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $80.68 a barrel. 

OPEC+ agreed on Sunday to stick to their October plan to cut output by 2 million barrels per day from November through 2023. 

Japan sets price cap on Russian crude oil, excluding Sakhalin-2 

Japan implemented a price cap on Russian crude oil from Monday, but crude oil imported from the Sakhalin-2 plant will be excluded, the government said in a statement. 

The decision follows an agreement by the Group of Seven nations and Australia on Friday to limit the price of Russian crude oil at $60 per barrel in the latest move to slap sanctions on Moscow over its war in Ukraine. 

The exclusion of crude oil from the far eastern Russian Sakhalin-2 project, which Japanese energy operators hold stakes in after the exit of Shell, was decided “in light of Japan’s energy security,” the government said in the statement. 

Further measures on Russian petroleum products, set to begin on Feb. 5, 2023, will be announced at a later date, the statement added. 

Algeria says OPEC+ decision to keep output unchanged appropriate 

Algeria’s energy minister said on Sunday that the OPEC+ decision to keep output unchanged was appropriate to market fluctuations, the country’s state news agency reported. 

The OPEC+ group will closely monitor crude markets for any developments, minister Mohamed Arkab said in remarks after its Sunday meeting, adding that the decision kept Algerian output unchanged at 1.007 million bpd. 

(With input from Reuters) 

 

 


Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority approves regulations of market-marking and procedures

Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority approves regulations of market-marking and procedures
Updated 05 December 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority approves regulations of market-marking and procedures

Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority approves regulations of market-marking and procedures
  • The CMA’s approval aims to regulate the activities of listed securities market-making, and impacts resulted from approving the market making registration application

RIYADH: Regulations proposed by the Saudi excange around market-making procedures have been approved by the Capital Market Authority (CMA), it was announced on Sunday.

The CMA’s approval aims to regulate the activities of listed securities market-making, and impacts resulted from approving the market making registration application, and description of mechanism of practicing market making activities on securities, a statement said.

The statement continued that regulations include the market-maker’s activities through providing continuous listed securities buy/sell orders during the market open session to provide liquidity to the relevant listed securities.

Also, among the conditions of the market-maker, it shall have a membership of the market or derivatives market and shall have the written policies and procedures to separate between the market making activities and any other activities practiced by the maker.

This maker shall also have the security and technical requirements necessary for practicing the activity, or any other condition proposed by the market and approved by the CMA.

The regulations set out the Market Maker’s liabilities; among them, to assign an account at the Securities Depository Center (Edaa) (where applicable) and Securities Clearing Center Company (Muqassa) that are limited to practicing activities of market making only on specific security (securities) in accordance with the Market Making Agreement.

Also, all activities of market making practiced by the market-maker shall be in compliance with the Capital Market law, its implementing regulations and the market rules, and any other relevant laws.

The CMA’s approval on the market-making regulations and procedures comes as part of the CMA’s continuous efforts to create potentials facilitating trading process, including increasing efficiency and volume of liquidity in the capital market through providing continuous listed securities buy/sell orders.


Saudi National Development Fund launches operations at SME Bank 

Saudi National Development Fund launches operations at SME Bank 
Updated 04 December 2022

Saudi National Development Fund launches operations at SME Bank 

Saudi National Development Fund launches operations at SME Bank 

RIYADH: In a move to bridge the financing gap in the small and medium enterprises sector, Saudi Arabia’s National Development Fund has announced the start of operations at the Small and Medium Enterprises Bank.

The opening of the new bank will help the SME sector contribute as much as 35 percent to Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product in line with the Saudi Vision 2030. 

Launched in 2021, the bank focuses on providing all its products and services in digital form without the need to establish branches. 

In an attempt to create partnerships and further enhance the contribution of financial institutions in terms of financing SMEs, the bank signed a total of 15 cooperation agreements, worth an accumulated SR3 billion ($797 million), with several financial institutions, Alarabiya reported. 

Overall, Saudi Arabia is witnessing an acceleration in licensing SME factories while taking advantage of government facilities to stimulate specific sectors and industries related to the fourth industrial revolution. 

In November, Saudi Arabia’s cabinet approved the Small and Medium Enterprises Bank System, according to the Saudi Press Agency.     

Ministers signed off the transfer of Kafalah SME Loan Guarantee Program from Monsha'at to SME Bank.

This comes as industrial SMEs in Saudi Arabia are urged to transform into resilient and technologically savvy operations in order to go global and be able to compete internationally, according to a report by the multinational professional services network KPMG. 

Moreover, the SME sector is perceived as a vital economic engine, a key generator of new employment, and the foundation of the global economy, senior vice president of technical services at Aramco, Ahmad Al Sa’adi said, in an exclusive interview with Arab News earlier. 

In addition to this, SMEs are set to play a significant role in achieving Saudi Arabia’s objectives of lowering the unemployment rate from 11.6 percent to 7 percent, and increasing women’s participation in the workforce from 22 percent to 30 percent. 

In October, the Saudi Arabian Oil Co, also known as Aramco, announced the launch of the Taleed Program, which aims to maintain and further grow the SME sector, Al Sa’adi added. 

 

 


Oman’s Jindal Shadeed to invest $3bn to produce green steel at Port of Duqm 

Oman’s Jindal Shadeed to invest $3bn to produce green steel at Port of Duqm 
Updated 04 December 2022

Oman’s Jindal Shadeed to invest $3bn to produce green steel at Port of Duqm 

Oman’s Jindal Shadeed to invest $3bn to produce green steel at Port of Duqm 

RIYADH: Omani steel giant Jindal Shadeed Group intends to set up a $3-billion factory to produce “green steel” using renewable energy in the Special Economic Zone at the Port of Duqm on the country’s southeastern coast, SEZAD. 

The new operation aims to produce five million tons of green steel a year, creating over $800 million per annum in value addition, it said in a press release. 

The company, a part of the $22-billion Jindal Group, will supply high-quality steel products to sectors such as automotive, wind energy and consumer durables. It sees a booming demand for green steel from environmental, social, and corporate governance-conscious customers around the world, especially in Europe and Asia, who have already committed to a significant reduction in Scope 3 emissions by 2030, according to Group CEO Harssha Shetty. 

An MoU was signed by Shetty and Ahmed bin Hassan Al Dheeb, deputy chairman of the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones, while a land reservation agreement for the site for the project was also signed between the Group and Reggy Vermeulen, the port’s CEO.  

The Group, which claims to be Oman’s largest steel producer, also signed an MoU with the centralized utility provider, Marafiq, to provide the plant with the utilities necessary to operate the project such as water services and seawater for cooling purposes.  

Commenting on the agreements, Al Dheeb said: “The signing of the MoU and agreement is a testament to the importance of SEZAD and emphasizes its position as a leading and attractive destination for large strategic projects that will benefit from renewable energy and green hydrogen.”   

He said the availability of solar energy and wind resources throughout the year will encourage more investments in green industries and renewable energy projects in Duqm.   

Oman is making efforts toward using cleaner sources of energy to meet industrial requirements. Al Dheeb said the efforts are in line with the priorities of Oman Vision 2040 to use alternative energy and sustainable natural resources. “The project also serves the comprehensive national strategy to reduce emissions and achieve carbon neutrality,” he added. 

Shetty revealed that Jindal Shadeed Group has already obtained the necessary approvals to secure the land for our green hydrogen-ready steel project.    

Reggy Vermeulen added: “This green steel project aligns very well with the port’s economic diversification and reduction in reliance on the oil and gas sector. It will not only attract foreign investment, but also provide work opportunities for local talent.”