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Travel Management

 December 02, 2015
Wings Travel Management Set To Establish Strategic Saudi Arabia Operation

 Wings Travel Management is establishing operations to service the Saudi Arabian market, commencing travel management services to one of its Fortune 200 tiered clients based in the Kingdom. In light of this development and the interest expressed by other clients, Wings has advanced the establishment of a Saudi Arabian registered company.

Wings has operated in the Middle East via its wholly owned Dubai office since 2009, but this expansion will strengthen the travel management company's presence in the region significantly, enabling staff to provide more localised support to Wings' oil and gas clients in Saudi Arabia.

Wings Travel Management CEO Tony Sofianos explained that establishing operations in Saudi Arabia is of strategic importance to its oil and gas division. "We have been servicing many large oil and gas, marine, and corporate clients in the Middle East for a number of years, primarily from our operations in Dubai, and supported by our operations in the UK, Africa and the Americas," he said. "The Middle East remains an important market for these industries, and the Dubai operation served as a shared service centre for our global operations. The establishment of a Saudi Arabia operation will further strengthen our capabilities in servicing the oil and gas market in the Middle East, and businesses globally that have interests within the region."

To meet the demands of the oil and gas industry, Wings Travel Management has established operations in strategically important geographical locations, namely Houston, Rio de Janeiro, Aberdeen, Dubai, Lagos, Luanda, and Cape Town.

Wings Travel Management COO for Africa and the Middle East, Frank Palapies stated: "This year we decided that we were ready to aggressively target the Middle East with Saudi Arabia being a primary goal for our oil & gas division. While the considerable fall in the commodity price of oil has resulted in many oil and gas operations being ceased, particularly in exploration countries such as Cyprus and Mozambique, Saudi Arabia has remained relatively unscathed due to it being a global oil production centre. Our focus has now opportunistically shifted geographically, and Saudi Arabia is a very attractive business opportunity".

Both the Saudi Arabia and Dubai operations will be wholly-owned and controlled by the Wings Group. Sofianos stated that this is a key and significant differentiator in the Middle East region. "Most of our competitors operate franchise or partner network models in this area," he said. "We have also identified that their ownership and management in both the United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are different, further reinforcing the strength of our wholly-owned business model, as well as the opportunity.

"This will allow us to deliver seamless travel management and logistics solutions. Most importantly, with a common technology platform and common control, we have the ability to seamlessly procure throughout our global network, which we believe will deliver cost saving opportunities to an industry that is in distress. Partner and franchise networks may claim that they can also procure globally, but we don't believe this can be done on a sustainable basis given that P&Ls in such a structure are all independently owned."

Sofianos concluded that the establishment of the Saudi Arabia operation will further strengthen the company's ability to provide a service aimed at solving its clients' toughest challenges worldwide. "We will not rule out the possibility of further operations within the Middle East market, or in any other geographical location of importance to the oil and gas market. In fact, we hope to announce the location of an additional new operation by early 2016," he said.

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