Flynas celebrates Riyadh-New Delhi direct flights

The ceremony was attended by Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Head of Mission to India Tareq Rashwan as well as a delegation from India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Flynas officials.
Updated 03 July 2019

Flynas celebrates Riyadh-New Delhi direct flights

Saudi national air carrier and low-cost airline Flynas recently celebrated the launch of new flights from Riyadh to New Delhi in India. The ceremony was attended by Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Head of Mission to India Tareq Rashwan as well as a delegation from India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation and representatives of Flynas in India, along with a number of Saudi and Indian media personnel.

The increase in the number of flights seeks to meet the growing demand among passengers, especially because Indians are the fourth highest number of travelers in Saudi Arabia — around 3.3 million passengers.

Starting July 1, there will be five flights per week connecting Riyadh and New Delhi, and from October, there will be daily flights. Flynas has also increased flights between Riyadh and Hyderabad from two to four weekly flights.

“The addition of this new destination serves Flynas’ global expansion strategy to extend its geographic reach to meet passengers’ travel needs,” the airline said.

Flynas has added five new destinations this summer: Sarajevo, Vienna, Batumi, Tbilisi and Baku. Besides its geographic expansion, the airline also continues to upgrade its fleet. In 2018, it signed an agreement with Airbus to purchase 20 A321LR and A321XLR aircraft, in addition to a deal of more than $8 billion signed in 2017 to purchase 120 Airbus A320neo aircraft.

The new direct flights will take off from King Khalid International Airport to New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. Flynas passengers can now book their flights through all booking platforms, including sales agents, the airline’s website and app, or by calling its call center.

Saudi AI startup Intelmatix closes funding round

Updated 05 August 2021

Saudi AI startup Intelmatix closes funding round

Intelmatix, a deep-tech artificial intelligence (AI) company, has closed its investment round led by STV, MENA’s largest venture capital fund, and Sultan Holdings, a strategic investor in some of the MENA’s largest companies.

Intelmatix, which is headquartered in Riyadh, is a pioneer in accessible AI and advanced analytics that delivers technologies to improve operations, productivity, growth and sustainability for governments and the private sector.

Global technology foresight firms report that the revenues from AI in the Middle East will exceed SR1 trillion ($267 billion) during the next 10 years, half of which are expected to be in the Saudi market, where AI will contribute at least SR500 billion to the Saudi economy by 2030.

Chairman of Sultan Holdings Prince Naif bin Sultan Bin Muhammad bin Saud Al-Kabeer said: “We recognize the revolution occurring today in the business world due to AI and advanced analytics. For us, Intelmatix is more than an investment; it is a key strategic step to advance the prospects of AI adoption and enablement in the business sector.” 

Abdulrahman Tarabzouni, STV’s founder and chief executive, said: “We are excited to partner with Intelmatix on its journey toward harnessing deep-tech for advancing the horizons of AI and reaching new frontiers of its application. The Intelmatix team is made of the brightest minds in the region, and they have the ability and vision to make the company a major global AI player.”

Intelmatix was founded by a group of MIT graduates with a proven track record and extensive experience in delivering advanced technologies and solutions. The startup seeks to become the leading deep-tech AI and data analytics company in the MENA, with a global presence through its operations in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, the UK capital London, and the American city of Boston.

In its current phase, Intelmatix focuses on location intelligence which maps the relationships between spatial, social, economic and demographic data and makes predictions using AI and advanced analysis to solve problems of “where, what, when?” 

Anas Alfaris, co-founder and chief executive of Intelmatix, said: “Artificial intelligence offers opportunities worth billions. In the Saudi Arabian market alone, location intelligence opportunities exceed SR2 billion annually, and globally, the value is more than SR100 billion each year.” 

He added: “The idea of Intelmatix was not born overnight. Our strategy crystallized through years of collaboration between the R and D sector and the business sector. Then Saudi Vision 2030 provided the regulatory and technical enablers to support the launch of Intelmatix by providing the ideal innovation environment.”

Ahmad Alabdulkareem, co-founder and chief technology officer at Intelmatix, said “Through our world‑class, diverse team of technology leaders, engineers, analysts, developers, and business experts, we develop smart and effective solutions and products to address the problems facing our customers in various sectors within the region.”

New Huawei MatePad Pro offers ‘smart office’ experience

Updated 10 July 2021

New Huawei MatePad Pro offers ‘smart office’ experience

The new 12.6-inch Huawei MatePad Pro boasts a wide range of features that has made it one of the most sought-after 2021 tablets in the Kingdom.

The highlight of the new MatePad Pro is its impeccable “smart office” capabilities, offering you multiple ways to interact with your tablet and other smart devices such as your laptop or monitor. This new Tablet-PC Multi-Screen Collaboration opens the doors for seamless cross-device interactions ranging from editing laptop files on your tablet or even sharing files such as text, images, audio and video between both devices with a simple drag and drop! 

The tablet leverages the distributed capabilities of the “Super Device” to offer users a “smart office” experience with support for Multi-Screen Collaboration capabilities in the Mirror Mode, Extend Mode and Collaborate Mode. So what is this new tablet-PC Multi-Screen Collaboration? In Mirror Mode, your laptop’s screen is mirrored to your tablet display, allowing you to directly work on files and annotate documents, or draw/sketch on your laptop with the stylus of the Huawei MatePad Pro just like professional designers would. Extend Mode transforms your MatePad Pro into a second screen, providing extra screen space to display more content — great for online shopping or when you are browsing the internet and there are so many items to explore!

Additionally, the innovative Collaborate Mode enables cross-platform interactions, allowing you to transfer content such as text, images and documents between connected devices with a simple drag and drop. Tearing down the boundaries that separate tablets, smartphones and laptops, Multi-screen Collaboration enriches and elevates what you could possibly do with the new MatePad Pro and other connected devices, empowering you to be more productive and creative than before.

The new Huawei MatePad Pro features a 12.6-inch OLED FullView Display and has a 90 percent screen-to-body ratio, the highest among all tablets currently available in the market. The display comes with an incredible high color accuracy, delivering a crisp, color-accurate picture that is on par with professional displays. The new Huawei MatePad Pro also has an ultra-high contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1, and supports DCI-P3 color gamut. The display is certainly crisp, vibrant and all-round impressive. 

Huawei’s newest tablet is a beast! It is equipped with the flagship Kirin 9000E chipset. The advanced and powerful 5nm Kirin 9000E SoC is capable of working seamlessly with smartphones, standalone smart monitors and laptops in addition to multi-tasking, processing massive amounts of data, and powering real-time AI computing with ease. 

Inspired by the clear case back design of luxury watches, the new transparent pen tip showcases the inner workings of the stylus, and comes with a frosted texture for a better drawing experience. Additionally, there is also the Huawei Smart Magnetic Keyboard, which is a full-sized keyboard that features a key travel of 1.3 mm to deliver satisfying typing experiences. Supporting Bluetooth and wireless charging, the magnetically paired keyboard synergizes with the MatePad Pro to boost the productivity of any user.

The MatePad Pro, comes with eight speakers with four tweeters and four woofers, which have been tuned and certified by Harman Kardon. Thanks to its combination of tweeters and woofers, the MatePad Pro brings exceptional sounds with delicate treble and powerful bass for all action-packed movies or high amplitude music.

Sair app: Making long-distance road travel safer, easier

Updated 04 July 2021

Sair app: Making long-distance road travel safer, easier

RIYADH: Sair is an application designed to serve those wishing to travel by road between regions in the Kingdom and the Gulf countries. It is one of the first applications that has obtained a license from the Public Transport Authority in this field.

Sair enables the customer to book a long-distance trip by car, specify the time of departure as well as the city of departure and arrival, choose the car they like to travel in, and the departure time. The “Captain” will arrive at the specified time to pick up the customer.

The company was established in 2017, and the application began operating in mid-2020. Despite the challenges represented by the pandemic, the app has transported more than 8,000 passengers since starting operations. This success indicates the large potential of the land transport sector and the great demand to travel by car.

Sair has made the process of traveling by land easier and safer as all trips are tracked through an advanced map system and a 24-hour control room ensures that the client has an easy, safe and comfortable trip.

The application provides two basic services — a private trip service, which enables the customer to fully book the car; and a seat reservation service, enabling users to reserve a seat and share a car with other travelers. The latter service, though considered economical, has been suspended due to COVID-19 precautions.

For more information, users can check out Sair’s Twitter account (@Sair_App).

Lebanon hikes fuel prices to shore up forex reserves

Updated 29 June 2021

Lebanon hikes fuel prices to shore up forex reserves

  • Fuel importers blamed the crisis on a delay by the central bank in opening credit lines to fund fuel imports due to depletion of foreign currency reserves

BEIRUT: Lebanon hiked fuel prices by more than 30 percent Tuesday as it reduced subsidies that have eaten away at the central bank’s foreign currency reserves amid a painful economic crisis.
Petrol and diesel prices went up sharply, according to a revised price list published by the official National News Agency (NNA), in a week when a steep currency devaluation sparked angry street protests.
The sharp fuel price rises came as Lebanon, a small country of six million people, grapples with an economic crisis branded by the World Bank as one of the world’s worst since the mid-19th century.
The Lebanese pound — which has been pegged to the dollar at 1,507 since 1997 — sold for more than 17,000 to the greenback on the black market this week, a record low.
The price of 20 liters of 95-octane petrol shot up nearly 16,000 Lebanese pounds ($10.6 at the official rate) to reach 61,000 pounds ($40.6), according to NNA.
The price of the same amount of 98-octane petrol climbed by 16,300 pounds ($10.8) to reach nearly 63,000 pounds ($42).
Meanwhile, the price of diesel reached 46,100 pounds ($30.7), up from 33,300 pounds ($22.2).
The new prices came after weeks of long queues at petrol stations that had started rationing gasoline and diesel fuel amid shortages.
Fuel importers blamed the crisis on a delay by the central bank in opening credit lines to fund fuel imports due to depletion of foreign currency reserves.
For their part, Lebanese officials said smuggling to Syria and stockpiling by fuel distributors had contributed to shortages.
The central bank used to fund 85 percent of fuel imports at the official exchange rate of 1,507 Lebanese pounds to the dollar while importers fund the rest of the cost at the street rate.
But the government last week authorized the funding of fuel imports at the weaker exchange rate of 3,900 Lebanese pounds to the dollar instead of the official peg to ease the crisis.
The central bank Monday said it would open credit lines for fuel imports based on the new exchange rate in compliance with the government’s decision.
Following the central bank announcement, the energy ministry said that fuel tankers docked in Lebanese waters had started offloading fuel shipments that would boost supply in the coming days.
Fadi Abu Shakra of the union of fuel distributors told NNA on Tuesday that six tankers had started offloading shipments and they would soon be distributed to gas stations across the country.


KPMG study: Pandemic-led governments to focus on people-centric policies

Updated 16 June 2021

KPMG study: Pandemic-led governments to focus on people-centric policies

“Modernizing Government,” KPMG’s latest report on global trends in public administrations, presents insights from a study into evolving modus operandi in governments of eight major economies including Saudi Arabia. Aside from assessing the handling of service delivery, supply chain and back operations, the study also envisions the pandemic as an opportunity, a springboard for advancements in remote working, agile policy making and rapid service design.

The KPMG report examines the new trend of a modernized government, which is customer-centric, agile, digitally enabled and inspired for future change. KPMG believes that reliance on robust business cases, costly and time-consuming planning, and extensive programmer “big builds” are now poised to give way to a new model, which is built on digital technology, cloud platforms, collaboration with other governments, and new partnerships with industry — supported by new and upskilled civil servants — revolutionizing how governments function in the 21st-century public interest.
In response to the pandemic challenges, the Saudi government rapidly established new services and ways of working, including the setting up of new temporary hospitals, digital health solutions, supply chains, mobile apps, call centers and rapid economic stimulus packages. 


The KPMG report focused on Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Saudi Arabia, the UK and the US.

“Saudi Arabia has seen a much more self-forgiving government that is taking action as needed while allowing itself to perfect its approach late. Acting fast rather than acting ‘spot on’ has become the norm. This is especially tangible in the digitization of the customer experience, where a certain level of error and risk is now allowed to implement new technologies,” said Ismail Alani, head of government and public sector at KPMG in Saudi Arabia.

The study emphasizes that the future is consumer-centric — stakeholders including citizens, businesses and other organizations — transforming public services to meet constituent needs and expectations. It finds that today’s consumers are more informed, connected and demanding than ever. And while they have come to expect the highest standards of personalization, choice, speed, satisfaction and security in every digital interaction, the pandemic has served to heighten consumer expectations surrounding the customer experience.

Governments’ stakeholders want to be treated like valued customers. The report indicates that government leaders will have to evolve the culture within and across their government entities by establishing a new “outward-looking mindset,” providing citizens with the opportunity to co-design government services via their input and feedback.