When it comes to aviation in Saudi Arabia, most of the talk lately has been about Riyadh Air, the well funded airline startup that’s expected to launch operations in 2025. Saudi Arabian flag carrier Saudia is hoping to regain some of the spotlight, with the announcement of a new brand identity and livery. Let’s go over the details…
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Saudia enters new era with full rebranding
Saudia has unveiled a rebranding, which is part of a wider strategic digital transformation plan. This is aimed at strengthening the carrier’s support for Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, to bring 330 million annual visitors to the country by 2030.
Here’s how the carrier describes the rebranding (I mean, you can’t really paraphrase this kind of stuff without sounding like you’re on Saudi Arabia’s payroll, so let me just quote it):
The rebrand marks the beginning of a new era for Saudia, introducing innovative concepts in terms of customer services with a strong focus on digital aspects and enhancing the guest experience by celebrating Saudi culture. This transformation reinforces Saudia’s national identity as it reimagines all products and services to engage all five senses.
Guests can anticipate an authentic Saudi experience during their journey, showcasing the very best of Saudi Arabia and its rich culture. This includes a distinctive fragrance and sonic identity, locally inspired cuisine, all crafted by skilled Saudi craftsmen. This new identity mirrors Saudi Arabia’s welcoming spirit, leaving guests with a deep sense of the country’s warmth and hospitality, while promoting a deeper appreciation of Saudi culture for both nationals and visitors. The rebrand also encompasses new uniforms for cabin crew and ground staff.
I’ve gotta say, the below video about the rebranding is at least very well done…
Saudia’s new livery, logo, and brand colors
To start, Saudia has unveiled a completely new brand color identity, comprised of green, blue, and sand, representing Saudia’s aim to expand its fleet and destinations, and “emphasizing the Kingdom’s authenticity and deep-rooted values” (hmmm…).
Saudia has unveiled a new livery, which I think looks great. It’s funny, because the airline has been flying planes with this livery since 2021, and the claim at the time was that this was a retro livery to celebrate the carrier’s heritage. But nope, this is actually the carrier’s new livery, which is based on the carrier’s old livery. So what’s old is new again.
Speaking of the new livery, could someone fill me in on what plane this is? Is this the Airbus 787, or the Boeing A350?
Below you can find Saudia’s new logo, which just contains green and white.
Saudia’s new employee uniforms
In addition to a new livery and logo, the airline is also rolling out new uniforms for employees, including cabin crew. I think they look great — they’re modern yet classic. However, given that the new Saudia is so heavily reliant on the use of green, I find it interesting that the new uniforms are dark blue.
Saudia’s digital transformation
The above changes are all about branding, though when it comes to substance, Saudia claims that it’s undertaking a huge digital transformation, intended to enhance the digital experience for passengers.
The airline claims that it’s introducing generative artificial intelligence (AI) as a virtual assistant, named “SAUDIA.” By the end of the year, Saudia claims it will allow passengers to complete the entire booking process through this. I’m not sure what exactly that means or why anyone would want to use that compared to the current booking process, but that’s the claim…
The airline is a bit light on details regarding what this digital transformation will look like, though I imagine we’ll learn more over time.
My take on Saudia’s rebranding and “new era”
It’s a fascinating time for aviation in Saudi Arabia, as the country pours an unprecedented amount of money into expanding its tourism industry. It’s not often you see a country investing in two competing national airlines in this way. At first there was some confusion about what the introduction of Riyadh Air meant for the future of Saudia.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that going forward, Riyadh Air will be heavily focused on Riyadh, while Saudia will be heavily focused on Jeddah. It’s also evident that the introduction of Riyadh Air will only cause Saudia to try harder. We’ve repeatedly heard Riyadh Air executives say that the airline will have a heavy digital focus, and now that seems to be a priority for Saudia as well.
Symbolically, I do find it interesting that Saudi Arabia is claiming that it wants to modernize, yet Saudia is looking to the past for its rebrand. The airline is adopting the same design it had several decades ago, which doesn’t exactly reflect looking to the future.
As I’ve often said, I think that as Saudi Arabia continues to grow its tourism industry, the biggest challenge will be changing perceptions of foreigners about the country. Outside of religious tourism and Muslim travelers, Saudi Arabia doesn’t exactly have a great reputation, and people don’t view it the same as Dubai, for example.
If Saudi Arabia’s goal is to welcome hundreds of millions of visitors per year (including many non-religious tourists), some major changes need to happen. Can Saudi Arabia convince the public of the country’s “warmth and hospitality,” and “promote a deeper appreciation of Saudi culture?”
We’ll see what happns over the coming years, though there’s a lot of work that needs to be done…
Saudia has unveiled a rebranding, which includes a new livery, a new logo, and new brand colors. The airline is taking an interesting approach to the rebranding, as the new livery is the same as the one from many years ago, and the airline has been flying a plane with this livery for the past two years, though we assumed it was a retro livery.
It’s nice to see that Saudia is working on improving itself, as competition is always good for consumers. It remains to be seen how successfully Saudi Arabia’s focus on global tourism is, though.
What do you make of Saudia’s rebranding?