Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Saudi’s national airline to connect Riyadh to 100 cities by 2030

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Reuters/Murat Cetinmuhurdar
Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Arabia is to launch a new national airline – Riyadh Air – which it is expected to create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs and add $20 billion to the kingdom’s non-oil economy.

The announcement was made late on Sunday by Crown Prince, prime minister Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz and the chairman of the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

The new airline, headquartered in the Saudi capital and wholly owned by PIF, will be chaired by Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of PIF. Tony Douglas, the former CEO of Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, has been appointed chief executive officer. 

Linus Benjamin Bauer, founder and managing director of Bauer Aviation Advisory, said the launch of Riyadh Air will leverage Saudi Arabia’s strategic geographic location between Asia, Africa and Europe “enabling the capital Riyadh to become another gateway to the world and a global destination for transportation, trade and tourism”.

Riyadh Air will connect the capital city to over 100 destinations by 2030, PIF said in a statement.

Speaking to Asharq Business, Douglas said the new airline would launch its first international flight in early 2025.

Saudi’s PIF is close to a $35 billion deal to order Boeing commercial jets for the new airline, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal on Saturday.

The deal includes wide-body jets which are often used for long international flights, the report added.

In October last year, Saudi Arabia was in advanced negotiations to order almost 40 A350 jets from Airbus, with Boeing Co also lobbying for a slice of the kingdom’s transportation expansion, industry sources had told Reuters.

Bauer cautioned: “If the new airline wants to compete on the global stage for transit passengers, the key for Saudi Arabia is to further relax restrictions in order to attract and accommodate more international passengers.”

The new national airline represents the fund’s latest investment in the sector, along with the recently announced King Salman International Airport masterplan.

King Salman International Airport will be a major transport hub and is expected to span 57 sq km. It will boost annual passenger numbers from the current 29 million to 120 million by 2030.  

Earlier this month Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority, said that the kingdom’s tourism sector was growing “at the speed of light”.

The country recorded a total of 93.5 million domestic and international visits last year as it transforms “at a scale and pace the world has never witnessed before”, he added.

Latest articles

An investor at the Dubai International Financial Market. The share prices of four of the 20 Gulf companies that listed since early 2023 have at least doubled

Stock prices of Gulf companies surge after IPOs

Most Gulf companies that completed initial public offerings (IPOs) recently have seen their market capitalisation soar, with issuers pricing flotations adroitly to bolster investor demand for their stocks after listing. From the start of 2023 there have been 20 Gulf IPOs that raised at least $100 million. Combined, these sold $11.2 billion of shares. As […]

A welder at work in Ras Al Kaimah. The northern emirates will benefit from lower electricity tariffs under a new scheme for local manufacturers in the UAE

UAE to direct additional $6bn to local manufacturers

The UAE is to direct an additional AED23 billion ($6.3 billion) to local manufacturers as it strives to develop its homegrown sectors and diversify its economy away from a reliance on hydrocarbons. Abu Dhabi state oil company Adnoc will expand its local manufacturing procurement programme for critical industrial products by AED20 billion to AED90 billion […]

Workers at a Riyadh construction site. The Tonomus competition aims to find innovation in the sector

Saudi Arabia races to find technologies for futuristic cities

Saudi Arabia is urgently seeking new technologies for its construction and real estate sectors as it races to make good on its pledge to build futuristic multi-billion-dollar cities. Tonomus, a subsidiary of crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s $500 billion signature Neom development, has joined forces with the Public Investment Fund to launch a competition offering […]

Bahrain recorded its highest electricity load in its history of 3,819MW in August 2023

Bahraini power company completes $1bn refinancing

Bahrain’s Al Dur Power & Water Company has closed a $1.2 billion refinancing facility provided by a syndicate of 17 local, regional and international banks. The kingdom’s largest power generation and water desalination company will use the funds to refinance its existing project-level debt. The refinancing facilities extend up to 11 years and include a […]