SkyTeam formally welcomed (29-May-2012) Saudi Arabian Airlines as its 16th member. Upon joining SkyTeam, the carrier has reintroduced the Saudia name, previously used between 1972 and 1996. The flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, Saudia becomes SkyTeam’s first member airline from the Middle East and gives the alliance a strong foothold in the region. Saudia adds 51 new destinations to SkyTeam’s global network, including 23 within Saudi Arabia. Saudia director general Khalid Al-Molhem said joining SkyTeam is "an integral part of Saudia’s long-term transformation strategy, which includes rebranding our airline, restructuring core operations and enhancing onboard products and airport services.” Prior to joining SkyTeam, Saudia embarked on a four-year turnaround programme, which will be completed by 2013. Honour, an aviation brand experience consultancy, designed and managed the brand refresh programme. Other elements of Saudia’s transformation plan include modernising IT, commercial, operational and financial platforms and renewing the fleet by acquiring 90 new aircraft. Middle East Airlines is also due to join the alliance this year. [more - original PR] [more - CAPA Analysis]
Saudia joins SkyTeam as 16th member and first Middle East regional member
You may also be interested in the following articles...
SkyTeam overlaps extensively with Etihad
The second largest of the three alliances overall, but the largest by domestic seats, SkyTeam has a particular strength in Northeast Asia and is the only one of the three alliances to include a cargo alliance. Its North Atlantic joint venture is to some extent complemented by SkyTeam member Delta’s JV with Virgin Atlantic.
Philippine Airlines may cut Middle East capacity and network, and end Etihad partnership
Philippine Airlines (PAL) is considering reducing capacity to the Middle East in 2017 while expanding in several other international markets, including Australia, China and the US. Yields in all seven of the group’s Middle East markets – all of which have been launched over the last three years – have been impacted by intensifying competition and weaker outbound demand.
PAL could suspend services to Abu Dhabi and terminate its partnership with Etihad. The airline group has not benefitted significantly from its Etihad codeshare, and may be better off partnering with another airline.
However, PAL is keen to continue growing its international operation. PAL is about to add capacity to the US using two additional 777-300ERs, and plans to add capacity to Australia in late 2017 following delivery of its first batch of A321neoLRs. New destinations in Europe and the US are under consideration for 2018, using its new A350-900 fleet.