Saturday, June 25, 2011

Social Media and the MENA Airlines

The Arab Spring was attributed to the use of Social Media by the Arab younger generations. Social Media has galvanized opinions and coordinated marches and sit ins that changed regimes. Yet, MENA airlines have not tapped this resource.

It appears that most of these airlines have Info pages with no interaction with passengers or potential passengers and it is sometimes hard to figure out if the page is the airlines official page. Of the twenty one (21) airlines, that I have looked at both legacy and LCC that have Facebook pages; only four (4) have flight booking and other facilities on their pages; Royal Jordanian, Gulf Air, Bahrain Air and Etihad.  

The most liked so to speak page is Qatar Airways (161200 fans) but it is not growing and that maybe attributed to their successful promotion celebrating its 100th destination. 

The fastest growing is Royal Jordanian's page (53500 fans) which adds around a 1000 fans a day and is probably the most balanced page among the region's airlines. It has a lot of traffic directed from the airline which prompts comments and likes but not much customer service content that the airline should encourage.

The most interactive page with customer service issues is Air Arabia's but only has 5500 fans.

Interestingly Emirates (43000 fans) has an info page only but is not growing, Etihad (31000 fans) is not very interactive same as Gulf Air (15500 fans) even though both airlines provide booking and other facilities on their pages. 

It appears the MENA airlines are not very serious about social media yet, a few of them have advanced Facebook Pages but are not very successful in promoting them to the public probably due to lack of resources..

Of all the airlines Royal Jordanian seems to take the effort seriously, they launched their efforts with an aircraft on ground tweet up with the 20 most popular bloggers in Jordan and have allocated resources to maintain the effort and it seems to be successful; around a 1000 fans per day for an airline the size of Royal Jordanian and a country the size of Jordan is no mean feat.

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