It’s no secret that when the Saudis go big, there’s no going home. So, when they announced that they were starting a world class airline that would top Qatar and Emirates, our ears perked up. This is the first look at Saudi Airlines’ plan to lead the pack of airlines not just in the Middle East, but in the world.
Last month Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman launched a new airline, Riyadh Air. The move aims to capitalize on Saudi Arabia’s geographical location between Asia, Europe, and Africa. As a result it will add one hundred destinations to its roster by 2030. Their goal is to compete with other Middle Eastern airlines like Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar. Here’s what to know about Saudi Arabia’s recent launch of Riyadh Air.
Riyadh’s New Airline and Airport
Riyadh Air is financed by the Saudi government’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) to bring tourism and prestige to the country. The airline plans to add 20 million to non-oil GDP growth in addition to supporting 200,000 new jobs in the region. Its headquarters will be in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, where a mega-airport is being built. This will expand Riyadh’s current King Khalid International Airport and span 22 square miles. Eventually it will be renamed King Salman International Airport with plans to accommodate 120 million travelers by 2030.
Deals and Ambitions
A deal between Boeing and Riyadh Air for thirty-nine new plane orders is in place to keep up with its ambitious goals. In addition, Riyadh Air can order more planes with initial deliveries being made in 2025. The airline is led by Tony Douglas, a former chief executive of Etihad Airways. As a result, it shows Saudi Arabia’s hopes to follow the techniques of airlines like Etihad and Emirates. Both were able to bolster tourism in the United Arab Emirates because of their intercontinental routes and connections.
Two Airlines Working Together
Importantly, Riyadh Air won’t be replacing the current Saudi Arabian airline, Saudia. Instead the two airlines will work alongside each other and offer different services. Saudia currently has its base in Jeddah and travels to ninety destinations with its one hundred and fifty aircrafts. Having both of these airlines working simultaneously will elevate Saudi Arabia to an entirely different league of aviation. In short, Riyadh Air is one to look out for when booking future trips around the world.
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