His Royal Highness Mohammad bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), announced the launch of the new national carrier Riyadh Air, backed by its sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF).
According to the Saudi Press Agency, the new carrier will be led by Tony Douglas, former Chief Executive of Etihad, as the CEO and chaired by Yasir Al Rumayyan, Governor of PIF. Its senior management will include Saudi and international expertise.
In addition, the new carrier is expected to add $20 billion to the country’s non-oil growth and generate more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs. By 2030, Riyadh Air expects to grow its route network to 100 destinations.
Riyadh Air aims to utilize Saudi Arabia‘s strategic geographic location between Asia, Africa, and Europe, establishing Riyadh as an ideal gateway to the three continents and a global destination for transportation, trade, and tourism.
In October, KSA was in advanced negotiations to order almost 40 A350 jets from aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing, Reuters reported.
Riyadh Air will operate alongside Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), the kingdom’s flag carrier. The former will be based in Riyadh, and the latter will continue in Jeddah.
The launch is part of PIP’s plan to tap into promising industries and boost KSA’s goal of economic diversification. The sovereign wealth fund has more than $600 billion in assets and is the main driver of the kingdom’s efforts to break away from its reliance on oil.
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