Nas Air: Between ‘This’ n ‘That’

Nas airlines is in a battle between being an LCC and a full fledged airlines. It offers the same airfare as Saudia, in fact sometimes a bit higher. In order for Nas to claim itself as a low cost carrier (LCC), the positioning needs to reflect the Price as well as other elements of Marketing Mix. Let’s look at the points as to why Nas airlines is struggling, positioning wise:

  • The airline offers a Budget Airline in-flight experience, Advertising on almost every space, food sold on-board and few seats with leg space
  • The airline’s airfare is close to Saudia’s airfare (the national airlines of Saudi Arabia). Here’s a thought: Your positioning should reflect on your Marketing Mix and that doesn’t seem to be the case with Nas. So what is Nas (an LCC or a full fledged air carrier)?
  • The airline recently went through a Re-Branding exercise (visual) which hardly addresses their Market Positioning or the Brand Promise
  • The current travellers’ demands pressure Nas to be ‘This’ and ‘That’ but eventually, this will hurt Nas in the long run
  • What is Nas today? No clue
  • The Board seems to pressure the management to increase revenue while on the other hand, the management has lost focus on the Brand ‘Nas’ and has decided to sell seats instead

Nas’ prices are distant from being a Budget Airlines, while the in-flight experience indicates that of a low cost airlines. In order for Nas to offer the the low cost carrier experience, its fuel costs need to be subsidized like the national carrier Saudia which is why I think Saudia has a better opportunity of being a Budget Airline than Nas

Nas Air or disregarded its Brand and decided to turn its airline into a commodity due to incredible demands of travelers but not too long from now Saudi airspace will witness two additional players, so where will Nas be by that time?

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing Adviser to reputable companies in the Middle East, author of many reputable books including the ‘The Power of Belonging’ and a Speaker. Baaghil appeared in books published by America’s experts on Branding and Marketing such as Dan Hill and Libby Gill. Most recently Baaghil was interviewed by world renown Brand Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on

The article was first published on Linkedin Pulse on 21st December, 2014

Who is flyNAS?

The recent brand evolution of Saudi Arabia’s NAS Airlines to flyNAS seems logical, but I have to wonder if NAS is still a Budget Airline. Their in-flight Value Proposition indicates they are a Budget airline, but their Ticket Prices tell a different story. So I have to ask: Has NAS airlines evolved from their previous Business strategy? Or is this statement a predetermined description of a Budget Airline? It’s unclear from their description what NAS’ new positioning is and whether that strategy is clearly reflected in their current Marketing Mix

Budget airlines require very distinctive parameters to operate with low fares as a specific aircraft type in flight offerings. In the US, Southwest Airlines is the perfect example of a well-rounded and well thought success story, as its Brand does serve its Business strategy. Every part of a holistic strategy can affect the single unit strategy. The essence of any Business strategy is to be the champion of the holistic approach. The Business and Brand strategies of NAS are not intertwined well enough, so again, one must ask whether NAS is still a budget airline because their price structure implies differently, while the airlines’ booking and in-flight experience does indicate they are a Budget Airline

NAS needs to address the following:

  1. Revisit the entire Business Model and gradually move away from a Budget Airline focus, unless fuel is subsidized to support that model. Otherwise, it will be difficult for NAS to sustain the Budget Airline Model
  2. Identify a precise target group. Saudi airspace will be saturated before the end of the current year due to 2 additional airlines. Al Maha airlines (Qatar Airways) will target the higher end of the market, while SaudiGulf will take a chunk from Saudi airlines’ domestic traffic. Both incoming and existing airlines will face difficult times competing with Saudia Airlines on Price, as it gets subsidized fuel for its fleet
  3. The single Value they offered in the past was Price, that’s not a valid Value today
  4. NAS needs to align its Channels of Communication, as their strength lies in their Digital platforms. They can dominate in that medium if they invest heavily today. Their brand no longer speaks of uniqueness, which is why the question is exactly who is NAS or flyNAS? The 1st Budget Airline in Saudi Arabia? Not anymore

    The airline clearly needs to identify their Brand’s Essence, so the public can relate to NAS in very precise terms

NAS Airlines has an unprecedented opportunity. The size of the Saudi Air market is massive, both in terms of domestic and international routes. The current demand for domestic routes is greater than the supply available, based on just two local operating licenses. The Saudi Market will evolve enormously in the Air Transport industry, and numerous new upcoming airports and NAS must be ready to inaugurate that new era

He can be reached on

The article was first published on Linkedin Pulse on 26th June, 2014

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