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Saudi Prince Announces New Airline, To Operate In Over 100 Locations Worldwide

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In an effort to compete with regional transportation and travel centers, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman officially announced the establishment of a new national airline, Riyadh Air, on Sunday. Industry veteran Tony Douglas will serve as the airline’s chief executive.

Taking advantage of the kingdom’s location between Asia, Africa, and Europe, Riyadh Air will service more than 100 locations worldwide by 2030, according to state news agency SPA.

The new airline is anticipated to boost Saudi Arabia’s non-oil GDP growth by $20 billion and generate more than 200,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities, according to the statement.

As the travel industry recovers from the Covid-19, the news could result in a tougher competition for passengers as they face off against regional heavyweights Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Turkish Airlines.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF), the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, which manages more than $600 billion in assets and is the primary force behind the country’s attempts to diversify its economy and move away from its dependency on oil, is the sole owner of Riyadh Air.

According to industry insiders who spoke to British agency Reuters in October, Saudi Arabia was in advanced talks with Airbus about placing an order for nearly 40 A350 aircraft, and Boeing Co was also vying for a piece of the kingdom’s expanding transportation market.

At the time, the CEO of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Saudia, a state-owned company, told Reuters that it was in discussions with Boeing and Airbus about placing orders for both Saudia and a future new airline.

Saudia Airline
Saudia Airline
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