Saudi Arabia’s New National Airline Riyadh Air to Compete With Regional Transport and Travel Hubs

Riyadh Air, Saudi Arabia’s new national airline which is backed by the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), was officially launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It will be led by Tony Douglas, the former chief executive of Etihad. Riyadh Air is set to create a more financially sustainable aviation industry.

The new airline will serve more than 100 destinations around the world by 2030, making use of the kingdom’s location between Asia, Africa and Europe as an anchor and King Khalid International Airport as the gateway. The kingdom expects Riyadh Air to boost revenue, add $200 billion to Saudi Arabia’s non-oil GDP and create more than 200,000 jobs.

According to an official statement, Riyadh Air will act as a catalyst for the Saudi National Transport and Logistics Strategy and the National Tourism Strategy by boosting air transportation alternatives, and increasing cargo capacity, thus increasing international passenger traffic. Saleh al-Jasser, the Saudi Transport Minister, tweeted that the new airline is the latest in a “huge package of projects” that will consolidate the kingdom’s position as an international hub for aviation and a global logistics centre.

Source Riyadh Air

Riyadh Air has been launched as part of PIF’s plan to utilize the capabilities of promising industries and help Saudi Arabia achieve its goal of economic diversification. It should be noted that the PIF has more than $600 billion in assets and is the main driver of the kingdom’s efforts to diversify its economy and wean itself off oil. The new national airline will compete with regional giants, such as Qatar Airways, Emirates and Turkish Airlines.

Moreover, Riyadh Air is set to be a world-class airline. It will adopt the global best sustainability and safety standards across its advanced fleet of aircraft equipped with the latest cutting-edge technology. Plus, word is that Riyadh Air is in talks with aircraft Boeing for aircraft. It was in advanced negotiations with the European aircraft manufacturer, Octaircraft, for the purchase of around 40 aeroplanes s50 wide-body aeroplanes. Furthermore, a Wall Street report stated that Riyadh Air and Boeing were near a potential deal for the purchase of widebody aircraft worth $35 billion – most probably Boeing 787s and 777s.

Saudi Arabia now has two flag carriers – Saudia, which currently serves more than 90 destinations across Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America, and Riyadh Air.