Saudi Arabia is set to launch a new national airline, named ‘Riyadh Air,’ as announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday, according to the Saudi Press Agency. The airline aims to improve connectivity between the Kingdom and the three continents it straddles: Asia, Europe, and Africa. Former CEO of Etihad Airways, Tony Douglas, has been appointed as CEO of the new carrier.
Riyadh Air, which is wholly-owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), is expected to add $20 billion to non-oil GDP growth and create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs, according to a statement by PIF. The airline is due to serve over 100 destinations worldwide by 2030.
Where will Riyadh air be based?
The airline will be based in the capital city of Riyadh and will be chaired by Yasser bin Othman al-Rumayyan, the Governor of PIF. The airline’s senior management will include both Saudis and international employees.
Riyadh Air will operate from King Salman International Airport, a major new airport in Riyadh, unveiled in November 2022. The airline will adopt the global best sustainability and safety standards across its advanced fleet of aircraft equipped with the latest cutting-edge technology.
Why is Saudi launching another national airline?
The establishment of Riyadh Air is part of PIF’s strategy to unlock the capabilities of promising sectors that can help drive the diversification of the local economy. It will enable a more financially resilient aviation ecosystem in Saudi Arabia, supporting the industry’s global competitiveness in line with Vision 2030. The new national airline will also serve as a catalyst for the Saudi National Transport and Logistics Strategy and the National Tourism Strategy by increasing air transport options, raising cargo capacity and growing international passenger traffic.
Riyadh Air is expected to enhance customer travel experience while connecting them to more than 100 destinations around the world by 2030, offering exceptional experiences with an authentic, warm Saudi hospitality at its heart. The airline will also provide tourists from around the world the opportunity to visit Saudi Arabia’s cultural and natural attractions.
Since the announcement of Riyadh Air, there has been excitement and anticipation from both the aviation industry and travellers around the world. The airline’s commitment to adopting the latest cutting-edge technology and global best sustainability and safety standards has garnered positive attention, indicating that Riyadh Air is set to be a world-class airline.
The establishment of Riyadh Air is a significant development in Saudi Arabia’s push to diversify its economy away from oil. The airline is expected to contribute significantly to the country’s non-oil GDP growth and create over 200,000 direct and indirect jobs. With the expansion of the company’s operations, Riyadh Air is poised to become a leading national carrier.
As part of the National Transport and Logistics Strategy and the National Tourism Strategy, the new national airline will increase air transport options, raise cargo capacity, and grow international passenger traffic. It will serve as a catalyst to attract more tourists from around the world to visit Saudi Arabia’s cultural and natural attractions, thus boosting the country’s tourism industry.
Riyadh Air is expected to operate a modern fleet of aircraft that will offer a premium customer experience. The airline will adopt the latest technologies to enhance the customer journey, including advanced in-flight entertainment systems, Wi-Fi, and other amenities to ensure passengers’ comfort and convenience.