|Quoting AirGabon (Reply 6):|
Saudi Arabia is the one of the biggest market in the Middle-East, with high yield passengers traveling very often, domestic, Middle-East and to Europe and North America. It gives SkyTeam access to this huge market.
Indeed. The Hajj traffic is also exceptionally important and SV
takes care of this component fairly well between North Africa, The Arabian Peninsula, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and other areas of the Middle East/predominantly Islamic world.
This is actually a great strategic win-win for both SV
and SkyTeam. Saudia has now re-branded and upgraded their hard/soft product, as well as their IT
infrastructure, distribution, etc. to ascend to the higher standards of the SkyTeam members. They've really done a tremendous job with these improvements. Furthermore, SV
is present in a handful of SkyTeam hubs, which bodes well for connectivity, interlining, code-sharing, etc.
For SkyTeam, SV
will help fill a huge void in their network in the Middle East, along with MEA
once they come on-board in 2013. Of all the three major global alliances, SkyTeam was the only one that did not have a Middle Eastern representative until this point.
Given all of the movement and evolving dynamics of commercial aviation in the Middle East, Saudia seems quite happy remaining a relatively low-key network carrier, and I think membership within SkyTeam helps to promote their image as well as accomplish their business needs without too much of an alteration to their business model.
Nevertheless, I will agree that the restrictive nature of the KSA will indeed pose some unique challenges and opportunities, as well as the lack of scheduling/frequency convenience (since its "hubs" are spread across three locations) but again, SV
is catering to a specific niche, aka one that does not really target transit or tourism traffic. As long as the rest of the ST
members are all aware and comfortable with this, I don't foresee it being a problem.
confidence is silent. insecurities are loud.