isn’t at all inaccurate
to describe Saudia Cargo development
during the formative years of
the twentieth century as pioneering
amongst all carriers in the
Middle East, past and present,
as the Jeddah-based carrier
has continually led the way
in fielding an all cargo fleet
and thinking of cargo as critical
to its success in the transportation
in 2012, during a time of challenging
world markets, around the world
of air cargo it may also be
remembered as a time when Saudi
Arabian Cargo went back to basics,
opened up a new play book, and
with the airline having shortened
its name and officially called
Saudia, the carrier has stepped
out quickly, building its air
cargo destinations this year,
and is showing no slowdown as
2012 chugs along.
this year, SV launched thrice-weekly
B747 freighter flights from
Benelux to Dubai.
move was followed quickly by
new freighter services into
Frankfurt and Vienna, plus additional
freighters twice weekly into
Saigon, linking Vietnam with
the Middle East and Frankfurt.
some challenging business in
2012, Mainland China found some
worthwhile connections, including
MD11F services from Guangzhou
(CAN) offering a direct freighter
connection to Brussels.
Saudia operates 180 flights
per week (both passenger and
all cargo) from the largest
manufacturing base in Southern
China to destinations in the
Middle East, Africa and Europe.
pattern of increasing services
and connectivity has continued
for Saudia Cargo during the
first half of 2012 with everything
from a third weekly freighter
from Dhaka, Bangladesh (DAC
– RUH – BRU), where
SV Cargo enjoys major market
position, to even more freighters
into N’Djamena (Chad)
that increased to twice weekly
noting is that in addition to
Accra, Saudia Cargo has established
an active presence in the African
market, currently flying to
Nairobi, Lagos, Addis Ababa,
N'djamena, Khartoum and Johannesburg.
interesting aspect to the accelerated
development at Saudia Cargo
is also that 2012 has seen widely
publicized new product initiatives,
including “Belly Flex,”
which utilizes both SVs big
passenger and cargo fleet with
an interesting, accessible,
well-priced cargo option.
quick look behind the scenes
shows a quartet of top executives
at the carrier, including Fahad
A. Hammad, Chief Executive Officer;
Mohammed Abdulaziz Linjawi,
Vice President Cargo Operations;
Saud Abdulgader Arab, Vice President
Network; and Peter Scholten,
Vice President Commercial.
this group of executives represents
over 100 years of service at
Saudia; the new person on the
block, Scholten, joined the
team three years ago after having
earned solid credentials in
air cargo sales and marketing
during 20-plus years at Martinair
point to Saudia Cargo management,
as we noted during our time
in Jeddah recently, when we
talk about just how well the
seems to interact with each
other, moving about with a sense
of purpose and excitement.
more thing: these folks seem
to genuinely like each other;
they can be seen interacting
amicably whilst driving new
ideas and useful initiatives
with what appears to be a genuine
readers of FlyingTypers
may recall our exclusive coverage
direct from Jeddah with Mr.
Hammad and Mr. Scholten.
we spend a few moments with
Saud A. Arab, Vice President
the set-up indicates Mr. Saud
is quite busy “Imagineering”
and implementing the rapid development
and deployment of Saudia aircraft
and other resources needed to
build the SV air cargo business
around the world.
Saud began his career with Saudi
Arabian Airlines over 30 years
ago as Coordinator Airline Association
Affairs for IATA.
impressive portfolio includes
work in both the passenger and
cargo sectors of the airline
has served at Saudia as Senior
Manager Cargo Tariffs &
Pricing, General Manager Cargo
Sales & Services Systems,
GM Cargo Marketing & Sales,
and VP Cargo Sales & Marketing.
from being responsible for the
airline, he is actively involved
in local IATA initiatives, which
is the driving force behind
the establishment of the CASS
Program in Saudi Arabia and
international IATA activities
such Tariff, Agency and Services
Conferences and IATA cargo policy
Saud, admits that like the lessons
of life, business of air cargo
in all capacities is best learned
“in touch with people,
in meetings face to face, and
out on the road in travels around
the world is something different
to what was studied in college.”
Saud participated along with
others moving forward the wheels
of progress at Saudia Cargo
and especially the numbers that
drive the global markets the
airline serves since cargo was
formed into a profit center
admits that his down-on-the-ground
approach also means that he
has been able to track progress
and project future performances
on both a sophisticated set
of information metrics, including
hard numbers and also touch
now, 60 percent of our business
is belly lift with 40 percent
carried aboard our freighters.
course, the newer generation
aircraft like the B777s are
hidden freighters unto themselves
with plenty of available lift.
we have experienced continued
growth in our all-cargo fleet
that corresponds with the growing
percentage of cargo carried
aboard those aircraft, as we
have seen lately to India, where
the mix of cargo has been excellent.
even further back, we really
saw the growth of freighter
traffic out of China, as early
on that was the traffic we carried
to and from the Kingdom.
while we rely on belly lift,
our growing network continues
to fill up our freighters.
is beautiful work. It is never
dull and always changing.
come up with a plan and implement
your ideas only to discover
that variations and changes
in the marketplace require plan
example, once upon a time we
operated a freighter into Tokyo
and Taipei and did quite well
and by, however, business migrated
to China, so we repositioned
our freighter into Hong Kong,
which had been an off-line station.
today, in addition to HKG, we
have been serving Shanghai since
2005 and Guangzhou opened up
for us in 2007.
despite some challenges we are
thinking about serving some
other China destinations, including
we operate a great passenger
business into Dhaka.
discovered that even though
we could move 18 tons per B747-400
passenger flight, the market
demanded more lift, so we added
a second freighter, and currently
now are operating freighters
thrice weekly into Dhaka.
we keep a keen eye on data,
adding freighters, and our business
grows not only to the Kingdom,
but in the case of China the
overwhelming amount of tonnage
goes via Saudia to Europe.
course the downward pressure
to provide top-notch service
and deliver decent rates is
a constant whilst competing
with other network carriers
from China to Europe.
the search for new markets is
constant as we are willing to
be early and grow with the business.
most important thing you have
is data, and of course in many
cases realize potential and
are willing to grow with the
course, management also needs
to have an expansion vision
about things, as has been a
constant factor here with Mr.
terms of building new stations,
Mr. Saud notes that in addition
to the aforementioned data studies,
on-site visits are critical.
regional offices are quite helpful,
but on-the-ground visits by
our staff, and even just basic
common sense about staying close
to our business concept, is
example, we do a lot of business
out of Germany.
our Germany cargo had been trucked
to and from the Saudia hub at
BRU until March of this year,
when we moved to four-times-weekly
B747-400F directly into FRA,
rather than trucking to connecting
flights at BRU.
flight frequencies will increase,
by the way.
want all manner of services,
including rates, but high on
the list are direct flights.”
Mr. Saud says that the much
publicized night ban at Frankfurt
has not impacted Saudia operations
much, if at all.
have seen night flight curfews
across Europe and elsewhere
in the world and we just operate
ahead to the remainder of 2012,
we are studying Libya, which
has always been a good market,
and we are looking at South
America. Moscow is also getting
larger into our view as Russian
business possibilities emerge.
also believe the African markets
will continue to grow and are
benefitting from our commitment
to grow there.
Johannesburg business and cargo
from Nairobi has just been outstanding
during the past few years.
started Lagos in 2007 with only
30 tons on the first flight.
our belief in the market was
to commit ourselves to growth
and development there, and every
flight saw tonnage demand as
a second weekly flight was added.
2012, just five years after
we began, we are operating into
will continue to grow and build
our cargo program with the belief
that we can deliver more to
both our business partners and
also the airline.”
wonder what Mr. Saud would do
if he were not in air cargo?
a good time to be here,”
Mr. Saud A. Arab smiled.