8 July 2022
SAUDIA, the national flag carrier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was announced as the winner of the customer engagement category in the SkyTeam Sustainable Flight Challenge.
This follows SAUDIA running the world’s first in-flight sustainability lab on a Jeddah to Madrid flight to crowd-source ideas from guests.
The sustainability lab was staged on May 12th on SV 227 from Jeddah to Madrid onboard a SAUDIA 787-9 Dreamliner, which was also the world’s longest carbon net-positive flight. The lab was run in partnership with SimpliFlying, global leaders in helping airlines build brand trust.
In addition to ‘best customer engagement’, the carrier also won in the ‘best employee engagement’ along with the other participating airlines. Additionally, SAUDIA was a finalist in a further three categories: greatest CO2 reduction medium haul, lowest CO2 emissions ground handling and best sustainable innovation (in-flight).
Inspired by the London to Melbourne aviation race of 1934 (the MacRobertson Trophy Air Race), The Sustainable Flight Challenge saw 16 of the 18 SkyTeam member airlines push the boundaries in attempting to operate the most sustainable flight possible.
Collectively, SAUDIA and the other participants of ‘The Sustainable Flight Challenge’ generated over 700 unique innovations and an average CO2 emissions reduction of 15%.
Guests on the SAUDIA flight were invited to submit ideas on greener air travel, covering the flight itself, time spent at the airport and arriving at the destination.
According to SAUDIA CEO Capt. Ibrahim Koshy, “We are incredibly honoured that our sustainability efforts have been recognised with two awards. The Sustainable Flight Challenge has been a unique and noteworthy challenge for our team, who utilized this experience as a springboard for new sustainable initiatives to come.
“‘Sustainability In The Air Lab’ saw us asking people who experienced our operations first hand, staff and guests, for their opinions and ideas. The result and the quality of suggestions we received exceeded our expectations, and we are currently evaluating them to see how they may be implemented.”
The concept was led by SimpliFlying. “An in-flight Lab elevates the conversation and helps rebuild trust in travel as passengers have a say in creating a greener future for aviation”, said Shashank Nigam, the CEO of SimpliFlying and the host of the Sustainability In The Air podcast.
SAUDIA also offset the carbon emissions for the flight, including radiative forcing impacts, by a factor of two. With a flight time of over six hours, this made flight SV 227, the longest carbon net positive flight in the world. The offsetting was handled by New Zealand enviro tech company Carbon Click, which utilized a Gold Standard approved and CORSIA certified hydroelectric carbon offsetting scheme in India.
“The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 will see 100 million visits to Saudi Arabia by the end of the decade”, added Capt. Koshy. “A cornerstone of that vision is for the Kingdom to be a leader in sustainable and even eco-friendly tourism.
“As Saudi Arabia’s national flag carrier we have a key part to play in making that happen. As a result, these two initiatives are just the start of an ambitious sustainability programme that we will be implementing.”
SAUDIA’s participation in SkyTeam’s Sustainable Flight Challenge is part of a broader commitment by the airline to continually improve its environmental performance. This is an integral part of its business strategy and commitment to becoming an industry leader in sustainability.
Notes to editors:
SAUDIA is a member of the international Air Transport Association (IATA), the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO) as well as a member airline in the SkyTeam alliance since 2012. Saudi Arabia’s national flag carrier was named the Middle East’s Fastest Growing Airline Brand in 2022 by Brand Finance and the World’s Most Improved Airline in 2021 by SkyTrax. SAUDIA also received the prestigious accolade in 2017.
The carrier is ranked as a Global Five-Star Major Airline by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and has been awarded the Diamond status by APEX Health and Safety powered by SimpliFlying, in recognition of the airline’s extensive safety measures in response to the pandemic.
About The Sustainable Flight Challenge
The Sustainable Flight Challenge (TSFC) exists to challenge the aviation industry by stimulating and accelerating innovation towards a sustainable future. TSFC is presented by SkyTeam, a leading airline alliance with member carriers around the world. It centers around a challenge scheduled between 1-14 May 2022 in which 16 participating airlines will implement their most sustainable solutions and compete for awards in 14 categories. This challenge is another step in the aviation industry’s path towards a more sustainable future.