Saudi Arabia Launches New Airline
Saudi Arabia is starting a new airline called Riyadh Air. The company, which will be based in the Saudi capital, is intended to help tourism.
Saudi Arabia wants to make its economy less dependent on oil and attract more tourists and tech companies. In 2030, Saudi Arabia wants to receive 100 million visitors per year.
Riyadh Air must fly to more than 100 destinations worldwide by 2030. The Saudi sovereign wealth fund PIF will wholly own the airline. That fund is already in talks with Boeing and Airbus about purchasing eighty aircraft. According to the American business newspaper The Wall Street Journal, the fund would be close to an agreement with Boeing for about $ 35 billion in aircraft.
With Riyadh Air, Saudi Arabia wants to compete with other Middle Eastern airlines such as Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad. The former CEO of the latter company, the British Tony Douglas, has been appointed to lead Riyadh Airlines.
Saudi Arabia expects the new airline to contribute $20 billion to economic growth. The new airline would also create 200,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Until 2019, Saudi Arabia was largely closed to visitors. But the controversial crown prince Mohammed bin Salman wants to make his country less dependent on oil price shocks. This has led to investments in holiday resorts and airports, among other things.