Can Saudi Arabia Build a New Emirates?

New airline has an extraordinarily ambitious agenda
Boeing 777X

According to global media reports Riyadh Air, a new flag carrier for Saudi Arabia, is about to announce a huge order for Boeing aircraft.

Saudi Arabia announced in 2021 that it was going to create a new airline based out of Riyadh.

The current Saudi flag carrier, Saudia, is based in Jeddah and has a mixed reputation with luxury travellers.

The goals of the new airline are hugely ambitious with plans to rival the big three gulf airlines, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airlines.

It actually plans to be larger, in terms of revenue, than any of these rivals which indicates the scope of what they are trying to achieve.

The potential Boeing aircraft order is apparently valued at about US$35 billion.

Boeing and Airbus have been fiercely competing for the order since the new airline was announced. 

The airline is part of Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious plans to transform the Kingdom into a regional business and tourism center.

The airline poached the CEO of Etihad, Tony Douglas, in September last year but reports have emerged that he has already left the start-up airline.

The Middle Eastern market is currently dominated by the ME3 – all of which are excellent airlines beloved by luxury travellers.

It will be a huge undertaking to challenge these well-established competitors so it will be fascinating to see how Riyadh Airlines progresses.

Guide: Saudia

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