Riyadh Air is officially announced

Riyadh Air-Saudi Arabia’s new national airline

The establishment of Saudi Arabia’s new national airline, Riyadh Air, has been officially announced by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. It will be wholly owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), and reveals grand plans for the future, aiming to become the largest airline in the Middle East in terms of revenue.

Riyadh Air will be based in Saudi Arabia’s capital city of Riyadh, with its main operational base at King Khalid International Airport in the capital. It will be the country’s second flag carrier, alongside Saudia Airline.

Riyadh Air’s future plans

Riyadh Air future plans

Riyadh Air comes as a product of Saudi Arabia’s strategy to become a transport hub in the Middle East, to massively promote the country’s tourism as well as to improve cargo transportation in the region. It will be a global airline, bringing serious competition to the big airlines already well-established in the Middle East: Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad Airways.

100 global destinations by 2030

According to the official announcement, Riyadh Air aims to offer travelers a superior travel experience and connect them to over 100 global destinations by 2030. In addition, the airline seeks to contribute to the Saudi National Transport and Logistics Strategy, and the National Tourism Strategy by expanding air transport options, increasing cargo capacity, and increasing international passenger traffic.

A strong impact on Saudi Arabia’s economy

Riyadh Air’s impact on the economy is expected to be significant, with projections of adding USD20 billion to non-oil GDP growth and generating over 200,000 direct and indirect jobs. The airline is poised to enhance the global travel and aviation industry, paving the way for a competitive aviation ecosystem in Saudi Arabia that is sure to improve the kingdom’s economy.

Riyadh Air Fleet

Riyadh Air fleet

Although no details of the new airline’s fleet were given in the official announcement of the airline’s establishment, multiple reports have emerged that Riyadh Air is in discussions with Boeing and Airbus.

Last October, the airline was in advanced talks with European aircraft manufacturing giant Airbus for 40 A350 widebody jets, but so far nothing official has been concluded from the two parties.

The other day, the Wall Street Journal reported that the new airline is in advanced talks with Boeing to buy widebody jet planes for about $35 billion. This colossal offer is expected to be officially announced in the coming period. Regarding the types of Boeing planes, nothing has been reported by WSJ, but looking at the airline’s plans for its international routes it is assumed that these will be Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 planes.

Sources: Wall Street Journal, PIF

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