Airline’s distinctive Saudi character and onboard hospitality recognized
SAUDI Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA), the national carrier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was named the ‘Best UK Haj Airline’ for the second consecutive year, at the ‘2017 UK Haj and Umrah Excellence Awards’ held at the Montcalm Hotel in Central London.
The annual gala event is hosted by the Council of British Hajjis UK (CBHUK) and honors travel providers that support the preparation, journey and overall experience for British Hajis traveling to the land of the Two Holy Mosques to perform Haj and Umrah.
Saudia was selected for the award amongst various international carriers offering services to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The other nominees in the category were: Egypt Air, Gulf Air, Etihad Airways and Turkish Airlines.
The distinctive Saudi hospitality, character and values can be experienced by guests from the moment they are onboard, from the designated prayer area; carefully selected entertainment options; and halal cuisine. Saudia provides a convenient air link directly providing UK Hajis with nonstop services to Jeddah, the gateway to the holy sites.
Over 25,000 British Hajis traveled from the United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia this year.
In attendance to accept the award was the airline’s Vice President for Corporate Communications Abdulrahman Altayeb as well as other airline senior executives.
Altayeb commented: “Saudia welcomes all guests on board as they travel for religious pilgrimage, as well as guests traveling onwards through the network to many destinations across Africa, Asia and within the Middle East region. With our state-of-the-art new aircraft and convenient connections, we look forward to showcasing the signature hospitality onboard, for all of our guests as they travel on their upcoming journeys.”
For the 2017 Haj season, Saudia carried the highest number of passengers ever in the 72-year history of the airline. More than 1 million travelers chose Saudia to travel to Makkah via Jeddah, and with the airline’s growing new fleet and additional frequencies on existing routes, the carrier was able to cater to the growing demand for direct services.
The airline operates widebody aircraft between the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Non-stop daily services to both Riyadh and Jeddah are operated from London Heathrow with a Boeing 777-300, in addition, a five-times-weekly is offered from Manchester to Jeddah with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Saudia currently flies to 89 destinations across four continents. The airline’s newest route is Baghdad, which launched on Oct. 30 — the fifth new route of the year. Multan (Pakistan), Portsudan (Sudan), Mauritius, Trivandrum and Baghdad have all joined the global route map within the last six months.
Saudi Arabian Airlines is currently in its 72nd year of operations and is a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO). At the 2017 Skytrax Awards held at the Paris Air Show in June, Saudia was awarded “World’s Most Improved Airline” of the year. The award recognizes an airline’s growth and improvement across a number of categories, in a single year.
The airline currently operates a fleet of 140 narrow and widebody Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and is the Global Launch Operator of the Airbus A330-300 Regional. Saudia joined the SKYTEAM alliance in 2012 and is one of 20 member airlines. The airline has 11 codeshare partners including: Garuda Indonesia, China Southern Airlines, Air France, Royal Air Maroc, Alitalia, Korean Airlines, KLM, Middle East Airlines, Aeroflot, Air Europa and Oman Air.
The CBHUK was founded in 2006 and represents the British Muslim community on matters pertaining to Haj & Umrah travel and works closely with Licensed Haj & Umrah agents. The Council is a registered charity with the Charity Commission for England & Wales. — SG