Saudi carrier Flynas cruises to more glory at Skytrax awards ceremony in Paris

Flynas was given the honors during the Skytrax World-Airline Awards ceremony, held in Paris on Tuesday, on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show. (Supplied/Flynas)
Updated 19 June 2019

Saudi carrier Flynas cruises to more glory at Skytrax awards ceremony in Paris

RIYADH: Saudi carrier Flynas recently won two Skytrax awards; one for the Best Low-Cost Airline in the Middle East for the third consecutive year and one for the Best Airline Staff Service in the Middle East.
The airline was given the honors during the Skytrax World-Airline Awards ceremony, held in Paris on Tuesday, on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show.
Bander Al-Mohanna, Flynas’ CEO, said: “These awards are a remarkable national achievement for our beloved Kingdom in the aviation sector. We pride ourselves on our professional staff who are constantly contributing toward the development of the air transport industry through seeking excellence and leadership.”
Al-Mohanna also noted that the awards will be added the numerous achievements Flynas has racked up as a result of the confidence and continuous support granted by its guests, in addition to its professional staff who work tirelessly to realize the targets of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 regarding increasing the number of tourists.
He said: “We are constantly working to add new destinations that meet our passengers’ travel needs, create new markets, provide competitive options, and offer an opportunity to learn about multiple cultures. These efforts have enabled us to achieve such prestigious international awards, in addition to fulfilling our objective to continuously develop and maintain our leading role within the Middle East’s economic aviation market.”
Al-Mohanna stressed that winning the Skytrax award for the third consecutive year reaffirms Flynas’ position in the economic aviation industry, as the winners are selected based on annual votes and surveys conducted by Skytrax over months. This survey is the largest survey of passenger satisfaction in the world, and Skytrax announces the winners based on its results. The Best Airline Award is awarded based on an assessment of customer satisfaction with the products and service standards offered by the airline’s team, including the cabin crew and the airport staff.
He also pointed out that winning the Best Airline Staff Service in the Middle East award is an affirmation of the employees’ relationship with their company, their confidence in its management, the brand’s position and its strength, as well as its highly productive environment. This award also confirms the precision of the approach adopted by Flynas in the ongoing training programs to support and develop the work environment, which aims at increasing the passengers’ satisfaction rate.
On the reasons and factors of Flynas’ success, Al-Mohanna stressed that Flynas’ localization strategy has had a significant impact on achieving the company’s objectives, as it created several programs to support localization, most notably the “Future Pilots” program which trained more than 200 Saudi pilots, the “Flight Attendants” program, and “Your Job and Your Scholarship” program.
The “Skytrax” award is a global standard for excellence among airlines. The winners are selected based on votes and surveys conducted by Skytrax over a 10-month period to rate quality and standards across 41 key performance indicators related to services and products offered by airlines.

NCB and Mastercard launch credit card for corporates

Updated 25 February 2021

NCB and Mastercard launch credit card for corporates

Mastercard and the National Commercial Bank (NCB) have launched a new corporate credit card offering the bank’s corporate and micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) clients a range of financial solutions. 

The Mastercard Corporate World card allows companies to effectively manage their expenses and corporate payment needs. The card aims to maximize companies’ financial control and provide them with full visibility in order to reduce costs and enhance cash flow. 

J.K. Khalil, country manager, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Levant, Mastercard, said: “As a trusted technology leader and proud supporter of the business community, we are delighted to collaborate with NCB to expand inclusion for best-in-class financial control, B2B expenditures and corporate travel benefits. We remain committed to helping businesses by offering innovative tools and payment solutions that enable them to make the most of the digital economy and an ever-strengthening payment ecosystem.” Majed Al-Ghamdi, chief executive of retail, NCB, said: “We are delighted to once again collaborate with Mastercard for another solution which we believe will provide strong value to businesses by offering the tools to enhance efficiency as well as meet their working capital requirements. Through the commercial credit card, our large corporate customers as well as SME clients will be able to make cashless transactions seamlessly and conveniently, while maintaining a stronger control over their cash flows. Furthermore, the initiative will add benefits to our corporate customers, such as control of spending and compliance with corporate policies.” 

The new corporate credit card delivers a range of innovative benefits and product offerings designed for the diverse needs of large corporations. Additionally, the dedicated self-service portal on AlAhlieCorp responds to requests and enables best-in-class relationship management. The card also offers consolidated e-statements and spending trends, so that cardholders and the management can benefit from simplified reconciliation and enhanced, integrated reporting.

The new credit card features a host of offers and rewards, including complimentary airport lounge access in more than 1,000 lounges across 300 cities with LoungeKey. It further includes complimentary travel and accident insurance, cover for medical emergencies, trip cancellations and lost baggage, in addition to other value-added benefits.

Additionally, companies that request an NCB corporate credit card before June 30 will have their annual fee waived for the first year.

Cloud kitchen ‘Kitopi’ launches in Jeddah

Updated 11 February 2021

Cloud kitchen ‘Kitopi’ launches in Jeddah

Kitopi, a managed cloud kitchen platform headquartered in Dubai, is opening its doors to F&B outlets and restaurants in Jeddah, starting this week. The tech company, which currently operates in the UAE (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah), Kuwait (Kuwait City), and Saudi Arabia, recently marked its three-year anniversary, and already has successful operations in Riyadh, working with more than 40 restaurant partners. 

The company partners with restaurants and cooks on their behalf, handling the end-to-end operations including sourcing of ingredients, customer experience and, working with third-party delivery apps to deliver the food fast and safely.

Now, Kitopi aims to make alliances with F&B partners and restaurants across the Red Sea hub, giving them the option to expand beyond borders in less than 14 days, with minimal capital expenditure and operational costs. 

Kitopi has seven kitchens in Riyadh and will look to open more than five kitchens in Jeddah before the end of Q3. 

“We are excited to expand our reach in Saudi Arabia, a key market for us. We look forward to partnering with restaurants in Jeddah, enabling them to scale beyond borders and giving customers a chance to experience exceptional food on their terms, quickly and safely,” said Mohamad Ballout, CEO and co-founder of Kitopi. 

The company works with more than 200 brands globally, operating over 60 kitchens and employing a staff of 1,200 “Kitopians.” Kitopi’s competitive advantage lies in its smart kitchen operating technology (SKOS), which powers all of its 60+ state-of-the-art kitchens regionally. SKOS is a cloud kitchen operating system that manages the end-to-end order experience with the aim of improving customer experience and operational efficiency. Thanks to SKOS, an order takes less than 35 minutes to be delivered, from the time an order is placed to when the customer receives it. Kitopi’s technology is supported by its tech hubs in Poland and the UAE, as well as a global customer support center, which operates in Dubai. 

Part of Kitopi’s expansion strategy in the Kingdom will be aimed at hiring more Saudis across its operations, with a focus on hiring more women. This investment in people will support the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 while opening up new professions for Saudis to embark on.

Courtyard Riyadh offers culinary adventure from under the sea

Updated 07 February 2021

Courtyard Riyadh offers culinary adventure from under the sea

Courtyard Riyadh Northern Ring Road is all set to take guests on a culinary adventure from under the sea with the opening of the Seven Restaurant. The venue has a weekly seafood night every Thursday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., offering a scrumptious buffet style dining experience, starting from SR170 ($45) per person.

Head chef Sofyan Alasmi has curated a menu that will have guests indulging to their hearts’ content. With more than 15 years’ experience in the hospitality industry across the GCC under his apron, all his culinary creations are bursting with extraordinary flavors. “From signature dishes such as the mouth-watering Thermidor to Seven’s special catch of the week, palates are set to enjoy the freshest and most succulent seafood in the city,” a statement said.


The restaurant features a seafood market where gastronomes will get to choose from a variety of fish and see it prepared at the live cooking stations.

A feast for the eyes and mouth, the restaurant also features a seafood market where gastronomes will get to choose from a variety of fish, including shrimp, Sultan Ibrahim, calamari and Deans’ Fish, and see it prepared at the live cooking stations.

The venue’s striking décor, an open kitchen and a live cooking station take center stage, ensuring guests seated indoors get to immerse themselves in the culinary show. Those seated on the outdoor terrace can enjoy sweeping views of the Riyadh city skyline.

The restaurant’s name has a symbolic significance. “Seven is the number of completion and perfection, and is highly symbolic across cultures, the seven wonders of the world, the seven continents and the seven days of the week,” the hotel’s website said.

Courtyard Riyadh Northern Ring Road offers a pleasant getaway for business and leisure travelers to Riyadh, with seamless service, easy access to the city’s top tourist attractions, and exciting dining experiences to choose from. The hotel features a restaurant, fitness center, a shared lounge and garden. Among the facilities at this property are a 24-hour front desk and room service, along with free WiFi throughout the venue.

Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Center opens in Riyadh’s DQ

Updated 07 February 2021

Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Center opens in Riyadh’s DQ

Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Group (HMG) has announced the opening of its new state-of-the-art medical center in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter (DQ).

The inauguration of Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Center was held in the presence of Nasser Mohammed Al-Haqbani, chief executive of HMG, a number of diplomats, businessmen and management officials of the group.

Guests at the event toured the various departments and facilities of the new center, including its emergency, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, dental, ENT, ophthalmology, internal medicine, family medicine, dermatology, and cosmetology clinics, in addition to the pharmacy.

The laboratories in the radiology department are equipped with the latest diagnostic technologies, which enable the provision of the most accurate results at high speed, thereby reducing the waiting time. All departments are manned by experts qualified in their respective medical fields.

The guests were also briefed on the services provided by the 24/7 rapid response team, ambulances and emergency transport, and the pharmacy, which is open round-the-clock.

“Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Center represents a great addition to the Diplomatic Quarter as it includes the best medical, technical, and administrative experts, to provide superior levels of medical care in accordance with the highest international standards,” Al-Haqbani said. The center includes all specialties and is equipped with the latest medical technologies, and it operates with an integrated digital system to ensure the provision of diagnostic and therapeutic services in no time, he added.

The medical center’s unified electronic system (VIDA) and mobile application for patients enable users to book appointments, obtain medical reports, view the results of laboratory and x-ray examinations and get copies of them via email, view the insurers’ approvals, connect with physicians in all specialties, get medical prescriptions, and obtain a wide range of other services.

Al-Haqbani said that since its inception, HMG has been keen to achieve excellence based on the approach of continuous development and right now aims to benefit from the ongoing digital revolution.

“The effective combination of modern technology and human competencies can provide the highest levels of medical care and a unique health model in the Middle East,” he added.

In addition to the new center in the DQ, HMG has four other hospitals in Riyadh.


McLaren Riyadh inaugurates new, state-of-the-art service center 

Updated 07 February 2021

McLaren Riyadh inaugurates new, state-of-the-art service center 

McLaren Automotive, the British creator of luxury, high-performance sports cars and supercars, continues to expand its presence in the Middle East, with the official inauguration of a new service center, located on King Abdul Aziz Road in Riyadh. 
The service center, operated by Nahwasharq, was conceived in response to a growing number of vehicles in the crucial Middle Eastern market. This state-of-the-art facility is conveniently located in the center of Riyadh and offers more than 1,500 square meters of space including seven vehicle lifts, as well as the latest vehicle diagnostics equipment. The facility will be operated by a dedicated team of McLaren-trained engineers offering a high level of professional service combined with technical understanding, to provide local customers with a complete peace of mind throughout all stages of McLaren ownership. Customers based outside Riyadh will also be able to benefit from an on-demand collection service catering to owners based in as far as Jeddah or Dammam. 


Customers based outside Riyadh will also be able to benefit from an on-demand collection service catering to owners based in as far as Jeddah or Dammam. 

Brett Soso, managing director — Europe, Middle East and Africa, McLaren Automotive, said: “We are proud to inaugurate the new service center of McLaren Riyadh, in advance of the long-anticipated reveal of our all-new McLaren Artura. I am confident that this new facility will allow us to exceed customer expectations and cater for the growing demand for McLaren supercars in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I would also like to thank our retail partner, McLaren Riyadh, for their continued support, passion and commitment to the McLaren brand.”
Mohammed Al-Kraidees from McLaren Riyadh, Nahwasharq, said: “The McLaren brand has always been synonymous with both breathtaking products, as well as class-leading ownership experience. Our new service center allows us to enhance this experience even further and provide our discerning customers with the most professional, efficient and convenient service in the market.” 
The inauguration of the new service center marked an important step in the brand’s expansion across the Middle East and Africa subregion, which comprises eight retail locations.