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Saudi Arabia announces launch of new national flag carrier

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman has formally announced the creation of
a new national airline, Riyadh Air, with industry veteran Tony
Douglas as its chief executive, as the kingdom moves to compete
with regional transport and travel hubs.

Riyadh Air will serve more than 100 destinations around
the world by 2030, making use of the kingdom’s location between
Asia, Africa and Europe, the state news agency SPA said on Sunday.

The new airline is expected to add $20 billion to Saudi
Arabia’s non-oil GDP growth and create more than 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 Turkish Airlines, Emirates and Qatar Airways 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

In October, 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.

The head of state-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) told Reuters news agency at the time that it was in talks with Boeing and Airbus on orders both for itself and a planned new carrier.

READ MORE: “Saudi Arabia deposits $5B in Turkish Central Bank”

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