On the occasion of the World Consumer Rights Day, which falls on the 15th of March of each Gregorian year, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) reviewed a package of measures and initiatives that it has taken in order to preserve the rights of passengers at Saudi airports. Moreover, to ensure that air transport services are provided to passengers in accordance with the highest standards and international best practices.
GACA was keen to preserve the rights of travelers and raise the quality of services provided to them through airports and air carriers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Moreover to raise the level of services for the civil aviation sector in general to reach the level of advanced and globally competitive services.
On World Consumer Rights Day, GACA addressed a package of services and initiatives provided to travelers, explaining their rights and duties on the journey through regulations and legislation enacted to protect their rights. Furthermore, take care of their services and improve the travel experience, including the issuance of the executive regulations to protect the rights of travelers in 2017. The regulations clarifies their rights and duties, the complaints mechanism and the rights of travelers with disabilities, and the obligations of the air carrier. Needless to say the Kingdom is the first Arab country to issue an approved regulations in this field.
In a statistic of the passenger care communication channels for the year 2021, the total interaction of the communication channels with the care of travelers amounted to 699,600 interactions with the channels, including: 549,312 calls received through the call center, 21,399 travelers were served via e-mail, and 81,500 conversations by means of social media. In addition to 33,100 conversations via the website, and 20,300 requests received via the website. Meanwhile, the number of complaints lodged against air carriers reached 4,843 complaints, and against airports, 1,186 complaints were recorded. Moreover, the complaints timely handling rate amounted to 85% for air carriers and for airports 86%.
Meanwhile, in order to raise the level of services provided to travelers in the Kingdom and enable the consumer’s voice to be heard, GACA has launched a comprehensive electronic portal concerned with improving the passengers’ experience and upgrading the level of services through platforms dedicated to complaints, suggestions, inquiries and obligations of the air carrier and travelers.
And in order to enhance transparency, GACA launched a report on performance indicators of complaints for air carriers and airports (in terms of complaints submitted to the authority) with the aim of providing travelers with information about the performance of air carriers and airports in resolving passenger complaints so that they can choose the appropriate service provider. This in an effort to push airports to compete in order to provide services with high quality and efficiency. GACA has also launched a monthly report on the operational performance standards for airports, which confirms the control and supervisory roles played by the authority.
Furthermore, GACA paid special attention to people with disabilities, as it discussed with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development and the Authority of people with Disabilities ways to facilitate the experience of passengers with disabilities at airports and air carriers. In addition to organizing workshops to identify the most important challenges facing travelers with disabilities, in the hope of addressing shortcomings in travel procedures for people with disabilities and improving their experience at all stages of travel.
GACA provided multiple communication channels around the clock to ensure interaction with travelers and airport goers through the following communication channels: the unified call center (8001168888), through (WhatsApp) application via the number 0115253333, and social media accounts, e-mail, and the GACA own website. Through all these channels GACA receives travelers complaints around the clock.
Moreover, in order to ensure that passengers' complaints are dealt with in an optimum manner, GACA has prepared a guide that includes instructions on how to deal with passengers' complaints at airports and with air carriers, as it sets out the controls and service level agreements that must be adhered to for all types of complaints and inquiries.
The participation of GACA comes in conjunction with the awareness campaign launched by the Ministry of Commerce within the framework of the qualitative partnerships that GACA carries out with all governmental and non-governmental agencies to enhance the interactive role provided by the authority in raising awareness and educating the traveler about his/her rights. Further, it’s away of clarifying the rights guaranteed by the regulations towards the traveler. In addition to raising the level of transparency through periodic reports, follow-up and continuous evaluation.