Saudi Arabia Announces New National Airline

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday announced the creation of a new national airline, Riyadh Air, with industry veteran Tony Douglas as its principal executive. This is coming as the country moves to contend with regional transport and travel capitals.

Riyadh Air will serve further than 100 destinations around the world by 2030, making use of the kingdom’s position between Asia, Africa and Europe, state news agency Gym said.

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The new airline is expected to add $20 billion to Saudi Arabia’s non-oil GDP growth and create over 200,000 jobs both directly and indirectly, it said.

The announcement may lead to a tougher battle for passengers, going head- to-head with regional giants Emirates, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines as the travel industry recovers from the pandemic.

Riyadh Air is wholly owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which has more than $600 billion in assets and is the main driver of the kingdom’s efforts to diversify its economy and wean itself off oil.

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