Long Beach, CALIFORNIA – The APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) EXPO in Long Beach, California, has seen Saudi Arabian flag carrier SAUDIA receive a world first in health and safety certification.
In addition to being given a ‘WORLD CLASS’ rating from APEX, the airline’s new flagship Alfursan lounge in Jeddah is the first airline lounge in the world to be certified as part of the APEX Health Safety Standard powered by SimpliFlying.
The APEX Health Safety powered by SimpliFlying program was established over a year ago in response to passenger concerns about a safe and sanitary aircraft cabin environment. Since then, over 30 airlines globally have been certified through a rigorous, science-backed audit process. The program is regularly reviewed and updated based on the latest scientific research as well as practical insights from airline Chief Medical Officers.
The program has now been extended to airline lounges, with SAUDIA’s new Alfursan facility being the first to meet and exceed the certification requirements.
Certification requires evidence-based responses to 60 questions across eight categories including areas such as Food Safety, Lounge Experience, Ancillaries, Testing & Tracing and Contactless Amenities.
Apart from covering critical touchpoints and best practices in health safety, the lounge audit also aims to push the envelope by encouraging airlines to adopt cutting-edge technologies and going above and beyond regular practices.
“Providing a world class experience means more than just offering unparalleled levels of comfort and service”, says Captain Ibrahim Koshy, CEO of SAUDIA Air Transport.
“Our best in class service levels have already been recognised by SAUDIA receiving the ‘WORLD CLASS’ rating from APEX. Now thanks to our new Alfursan lounge having been awarded the APEX Health Safety Standard powered by SimpliFlying, we can visibly demonstrate to our guests that we make no compromises when it comes to their health and wellbeing, whether in the air, or on the ground.”
“In the future, airlines will need to keep in mind the three Ss”, says SimpliFlying CEO Shashank Nigam.
“As before, there is safety. Meanwhile sustainability is becoming ever more important. And now thanks to the pandemic, the third ‘s’, sanitation, is a constant passenger concern, and one that is not going away anytime soon.”
“Having successfully audited airlines worldwide, we’ve now rolled out the APEX Health Safety Standard powered by SimpliFlying for their lounges. A lounge is a key piece of airline real estate as well as a place where passengers from different destinations mix, especially in transit.”
“As a result, it’s important for airlines to show they provide health and safety peace of mind throughout the whole passenger journey. With this new certification, SAUDIA has demonstrated its leadership in the area, and we’re looking forward to auditing more airline lounges over the coming months.”
“SAUDIA’s rapid ascension to APEX World Class underlines what is possible when focused on the most important customer values,” APEX CEO Dr. Joe Leader stated. “With award-winning service and Diamond-level health safety, SAUDIA’s innovation has quickly elevated to a heavenly experience.”
The new Alfursan lounge is the largest Skyteam alliance lounge in the world. Akin more to a five star luxury hotel than a traditional lounge, it can host 10,000 guests throughout the day. Features include a ‘Chocolate House’, a Saudi Coffee and Date Bar, and an art wall.