Saudi Arabia To Create New Airline To Compete With Rival Nations


Riyadh: Saudi Arabia announced Sunday the creation of a new national airline, part of a plan to turn Riyadh into a global aviation hub rivalling regional leaders like Dubai and Doha.

Riyadh Air “aims to launch flights to more than 100 destinations around the world by 2030,” the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The Gulf kingdom is pursuing ambitious aviation goals as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s wide-ranging “Vision 2030” reform agenda, including more than tripling annual traffic to 330 million passengers by the end of the decade.

It also wants to move up to five million tonnes of cargo each year.

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

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

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 centre”, Saudi transport minister Saleh Al-Jasser said on Twitter.

Tony Douglas, former head of Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, has been appointed CEO, SPA said.

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