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How Digitalization Would Help Saudia Become A More Modern Airline

Here is how Saudia will upgrade from a dated legacy airline to a cutting-edge, data-driven airline.

Flag carrier Saudia, which launched its maiden flight in 1945 with just one aircraft in its fleet, has grown into a multi-industry airline that dominates the domestic market in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The airline serves approximately 90 destinations in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America with a fleet of over 146 aircraft.

Yet, as other airlines broaden their networks and improve soft goods to stay ahead of the fierce competition, Saudia finds itself needing to be more imaginative than just having a modern fleet – particularly since it will need to be one of the faces of the Kingdom for Vision 2030. Studying Saudi Arabia’s rapid digital transformation

Making flying more contemporary, fun, and individualized for passengers is a key component of the airline’s transformational ambition to become a global airline leader. Some end-to-end airline processes must be improved as a result. Saudia has started a significant digital redesign to accomplish this.


The airline’s mobile app, SAUDIA, was introduced a number of years ago, but many passengers still think that its features are a little dated. Every time a passenger attempted to log in or access their profile, SAUDIA would either hang or lag very badly, aggravating the user.

Saudia wants to start its digital transformation by focusing heavily on data clouding to enhance the digital processes for passengers given how unfriendly the mobile application appears to be, as confirmed by the airline’s Chief Commercial Officer, Arved Von Zur Muehlen, when he was speaking at the Aviation Festival Asia held in Singapore earlier this month.

Focusing on data clouding will help passengers’ current issues, but it will also give passengers additional operational choices that will improve their flying experiences with Saudia, such pre-ordering food and interruption recovery for their affected flights.

Factory Digital

After deciding to relocate numerous departments involved in the digital transition to King Abdullah Economic City, Saudia achieved another major milestone last year by constructing its digital factory. In order to address the airline’s expanding digital and technological needs, the digital factory will also house a number of new divisions.

By designating King Abdullah Economic City as the new hub for all things technological and digital, Saudi Arabia may take advantage of the multiple advantages provided by the city’s cutting-edge infrastructure to further enhance its performance. For instance, the new division headquarters can accommodate at least 1,000 personnel who are solely responsible for Technology, data analysis, and guest services.

Saudi Arabia’s difficulties

Yet, Saudia still has a long way to go before it can change from an aging legacy carrier to an agile, data-driven airline, despite having such lofty digital objectives and access to easily available technology. The fact that not all of the airline’s technology could be changed as desired, according to Muehlen, was a major barrier.

For instance, replacing and upgrading outdated technology—like legacy aviation systems—will be more inflexible than replacing and upgrading current hardware, like computers and software—will be. There is also the issue of not getting enough feedback to accurately determine whether the enhanced inputs are functioning as planned or if additional changes are necessary.

Yet, Saudia is still convinced that success will be possible given the present pace of its digital transformation path. This will enable the legacy carrier to exploit digitization as a competitive advantage against its rivals across the world and the recently unveiled Riyadh Air. The airline also guarantees that once the change is almost finished, guests will receive a delightful transformed experience worth waiting for.

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