HomeTravel & TourismNew airline launched by Saudi to add $20 bn to non-oil GDP
By Economy Middle East
March 13, 2023 2:32 pm

New airline launched by Saudi to add $20 bn to non-oil GDP

Creating more than 200,000 direct, indirect jobs
Saudi airline
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (Photo Credit: SPA)

In an effort to compete with regional transportation and travel centers, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman formally announced the launch of a new national airline, Riyadh Air, with industry veteran Tony Douglas as its chief executive. The airline will be chaired by PIF Gov. Yasir Al-Rumayyan.

Operating from the Saudi capital as its hub, the airline is expected to add $20 billion to the Kingdom’s non-oil gross domestic product growth and create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Leveraging the Kingdom’s location between Asia, Africa, and Europe, Riyadh Air will serve more than 100 locations worldwide by 2030, according to Vision 2030 official website.

Read more: New Saudi national carrier ‘RIA’ to launch with $30 bn investments

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) is the sole owner of Riyadh Air. The sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia manages more than $600 billion in assets and is the driving force behind the country’s efforts to diversify its economy and wean itself off of oil.

According to industry sources who spoke to Reuters in October, Saudi Arabia was in advanced talks with Airbus to purchase over 40 A350 aircraft, while Boeing was also vying for a piece of the Kingdom’s growing transportation market.

Last November officials announced plans for a new airport in the capital Riyadh — spanning 57 sq. km (22 sq. m) — that is set to accommodate 120 million travelers per year by 2030 and 185 million travelers by 2050.

The capacity of the existing Riyadh airport is around 35 million travelers.

Commenting on the launch of the new airline, Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb wrote on Twitter that the new airline is a “major breakthrough” and will give a major boost to the Kingdom’s tourism sector. He said the launch of the airline support “our goal of receiving 100 million tourists from all over the world by 2030.”

The new airline is the latest in “a huge package of projects” that will “consolidate our country’s position as an international hub for aviation and a global logistics center,” Saudi Transport Minister Saleh Al-Jasser said on Twitter.

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