SAUDIA Group Plays Key Role in Success of Hajj Season 2023

image courtesy of SAUDIA 2 | eTurboNews | eTN
image courtesy of SAUDIA
Written by Linda Hohnholz

SAUDIA Group announced its performance reports, following Hajj Season 2023, show distinguished operating rates during peak summer travel.

SAUDIA Group’s performance during the period from May 21 to August 2, 2023, peaked as the airline allocated more than 1.2 million seats for Hajj pilgrims, while operating 79,000 flights.

SAUDIA’s fleet flew an average of half a million hours, while recording an on-time-performance rate of 83.8%. Meanwhile, 1,768 pilots and assistant pilots have also contributed to SAUDIA’s success by managing the flights efficiently, while the guest cabin crew worked at full capacity during the season, with a total of 6,063 crewmembers, who speak more than 42 languages, working during the summer months.

The Hajj season also saw the mobilization of the Saudia Aerospace Engineering Industries (SAEI) which operated at full capacity with its automated capabilities and qualified cadres to ensure the provision of the best services. SAEI dedicated a specialized team to support during Hajj season which included the allocation of 112 maintenance stations which were operated by 1,154 technicians. In addition, SAEI supplied SAUDIA with 3,896 different types of aircraft parts while the time spent on maintenance amounted to 50,700 hours. SAEI has obtained many international licenses and certificates from the General Authority of Civil Aviation, the US Federal Aviation Authority, the European Organization for Aviation Safety, among others. Moreover, SAEI obtained licenses approved by manufacturers which allow the company to manufacture aircraft spare parts in a limited capacity.

The Saudi Airlines Catering Company (SACC) has also played a major role during the Hajj season, as they provided best-in class production of meals that comply with the best international standards. SACC also provided comprehensive catering solutions to institutions and agencies working to serve Hajj and Umrah pilgrims to satisfy all tastes, by providing a diversified product commensurate with the requirements of service during the Hajj and Umrah seasons which requires record levels of speed and integrated work. SACC delivered 5.4 million meals provided on planes, 83,400 meals on the Haramain High Speed Railway, and 357,000 meals as part of its catering services in the holy sites.

By investing its expertise in providing ground handling services at all domestic airports, the Saudi Ground Services Company (SGS) provided handling services for more than 25,000 flights at the arrival and departure stages, which carried more than 2.18 million pilgrims, with a standard operational discipline rate of 99%. SGS’s services opened up several seasonal jobs which contributed to speeding up the procedures, as those who joined were trained on the job to cover the additional sites during the Hajj season. The languages spoken by the employees varied to include, Arabic, English, Japanese, Turkish, French, German, Urdu, Pakistani Bengali, Hindi, Filipino, Tamil, Malayalam, and Malay.

Saudia Private Aviation (SPA) is renowned for providing its competitive services that target businessmen and senior officials, and is available in four domestic airports, including King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, and Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Medina.

During the Hajj season, SPA operated 192 flights which carried more than 4,300 pilgrims, with ground handling provided for the flights.

Guests also enjoyed many services including private travel lounges, a modern fleet with a fully equipped luxurious cabin and crew, and post-flight services including reception and support, as well as guest relations and guide service.

SAUDIA’s offices in both Makkah and Medina provided many support services to the pilgrims, including confirming and changing reservations and issuing tickets. They also assisted all government agencies involved in providing services to pilgrims, such as pre-booking seats and issuing vouchers, booking excess baggage, and providing services to sick guests and people with special needs. All SAUDIA facilities were operated by highly qualified and professional staff, who were available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Mr. Amer Alkhushail, Chief Hajj and Umrah Officer at SAUDIA Group, said: “The end of the Hajj season marks the beginning of our preparation for the next one, as all stages will be reviewed and evaluated in order to further improve the level of services and enhance our performance in time for the upcoming Hajj season. Expansion and growth are our main priorities, which fall in line with Vision 2030’s objectives to develop the services provided to the Hajj and Umrah pilgrims.”

About the author

Linda Hohnholz

Editor in chief for eTurboNews based in the eTN HQ.

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