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Fiaramanidina sy COVID-19 any Arabia Saodita: Araka ny hitan'ny CEO jeneralin'ny flyadeal

Richard Maslen:

Okay. That goes on nicely to what my next question was to look at airports. We’ve had a panel of this month on the airport side. As a low-cost carrier you talk a lot about the airports, big new terminals looking really good, but what is it that you actually want from the airports and are you getting that in Saudi Arabia?

Con Korfiatis:

That’s a very good question. So, look, historically, without a full DNA low-cost airline in the kingdom, the airports have never really looked at themselves and say, “Okay, what does a true low cost airport terminal look like? Or a section of the airport or the model?” Until the new Jeddah airport terminal opened, for example, we never even had aerobridges, it was bus gates to everybody regardless of what style of airline you’re flying. So that’s changed dramatically, obviously. The airports that are existing haven’t really been designed with this model in mind, as I say, being a new model it’s unlike Europe and others that have had them for 20 and 30 and 40 years, and you have had airport development in that timeframe for it to start to evolve.

But the positive for us is the airports, the regulator, and all the airport operators in the kingdom are very actively engaged with us to say, “Okay. What is it that you need?” And we do have improvements and changes and additions in mind on new terminals coming along. “What do you need for your business model and how many aircraft do you see it having?” And we’re planning all of this jointly. One of the really nice things I’ve seen come out of the Vision 2030 program for the kingdom is a strong, the whole aviation ecosystem together to think as a family unit. And therefore, everyone is equally motivated and energized by how does the whole thing come together because it’s about team Saudi Arabia selling itself to the world.

And if we’re disjointed and people come and have the wrong experience, that’s not the impression we want people to have when we’re looking at that side of visitation numbers we want to ultimately drive to. And we want to deliver and will deliver best in class, and a seamless experience in terms of the different models and the different airlines and the different terminals and the like. So, it’s all ahead of us Rich there’s a lot of work to do, but that’s part of the excitement of being here.

Richard Maslen:

I think, it’s really encouraging to look at what is going to happen in Saudi Arabia over the next five years, obviously COVID has come at just the wrong time just when everything was going… opening the doors, trying to be positive that time will now come. Just to finish off where we’re running short on time here is I’d just like to think what if you learned over the last year? We weren’t really prepared for COVID and it’s affected us quite badly in our own lives and in business life, but as a CEO of an airline, what have you learned over the last year that you will take forward to think, “Okay I need to be better prepared. What can I use go forward?”

Con Korfiatis:

Yeah, you did say we’re shorter time, right? It’s a whole story. Let me try and do it a little bit of a nutshell. A profound care for customer than perhaps more in ways we never thought we’d have to think about our customers before, that’s one of the most telling. I think the same applies in terms of a profound care and duty of care for our people, our staff, who have gone out there and been at the frontline and provided a required service to keep the world going in the economy. I think certainly agility. We’ve always said this airline… I remember a former CEO I worked for at one of the major global airlines years ago had a term he used to like to use, which he called the constant shock syndrome. And that’s been a factor in aviation ever since there’s been an industry, I guess we’ve taken it to a whole new level during 2020.

So it’s driven the agility to a level we’ve never had before to improvise. It’s certainly accelerated automation. And I see that now, we’re not going to step away from that as an industry around the world. There were parts of the world that were pretty on that front anyway, others a little bit less though. But it’s forced all of us on the whole industry I think to get very much on the front foot of automation. And whatever we thought we would do over a one to five, eight year, 10 year life cycle, we now want to do it in three months, six months, a year, two years, three years. So, I’d say certainly they’re the key things.