Kuwaitis 'feel comfortable with home airline'
Kuwait City, April 9, 2008
A new survey into the flying habits of Kuwaiti nationals has revealed that it is very important for them to fly with a home airline.
They also look for comfortable seats, good legroom and friendly staff whenever they want to fly.
International research consultants Nielsen interviewed over 400 Kuwaitis at locations all over the country to find out more about their short-haul flying habits to destinations across the Middle East for business and leisure.
The research showed that the majority of travelers questioned are still very traditional in their habits when it comes to buying their air ticket – less than 10 per cent book online with two thirds using a travel agent and the rest booking directly with their airline of choice.
Nielsen Kuwait was commissioned to undertake the survey by Kuwait National Airways, the country’s newest airline which will commence operations in January 2009.
Kuwaitis were also found to be typical of fellow Gulf Arabs when they book for leisure – with over 70 per cent booking within one month of their flight.
Dubai and Cairo topped the list of destinations for all travelers from Kuwait. For business travelers, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and Jeddah completed the top five destinations. Leisure travelers chose Jeddah, Bahrain and Beirut as the next most popular destinations.
Sundeep Mathias, head of customized research (Bahrain/Oman/Qatar/Kuwait) from Nielsen Kuwait explained: “We interviewed over 400 Kuwaitis who had traveled by air in the last 12 months at locations in all six governorates of Kuwait and found that 61 per cent of those questioned had traveled economy class with 39 per cent traveling any premium class at least once. It was interesting to discover that the majority of people we questioned said it was important to them to travel on a Kuwaiti airline when they can and that 50 per cent said they would definitely travel on a new Kuwaiti airline and even pay up to 10 per cent more to fly on it if certain facilities were offered.”
Business customers said the most important factors for them when selecting their airline were direct flights, attractive schedules, short check in and security queues, good business lounges and prayer facilities. Leisure travelers shared the first three factors but also looked for additional services such as hotel and car rental facilities and to be given telephone and email updates on flights and services by the airline.
On the plane both business and leisure travelers ranked comfortable seats and good legroom as the most important two things when traveling. Business travelers also looked for the chance to use their mobile phone in-flight followed by a wide selection of meals while leisure travelers considered in-flight entertainment in their list of priorities.
“Good service and timing were clearly some of the most important factors for travelers when selecting an airline and they are also clearly influenced by cleanliness of the service areas and the friendliness of the staff,” added Mathias.
The research was undertaken by Nielsen in February this year. Interviews were all conducted in Arabic and undertaken in shopping malls or at the individual’s place of work. - TradeArabia News Service