Riyadh Air to be operational within two years: CEO Douglas

March 14, 2023
Riyadh Air CEO.
Riyadh Air CEO.

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — Tony Douglas, CEO of Riyadh Air, said that the new world-class airline, which will connect Saudi Arabia with the rest of the world through an integrated network, will be operational within two years.

In an interview with, he said that the new company will link the capital city of Riyadh with 100 international destinations. “The establishment of the company is an exciting moment for the commercial civil aviation sector. This will be the first digital national company to provide services to travelers in an easier way,” he said while emphasizing that the company will focus on enriching customer experience and services.

Among the 100 specific destinations, Douglas said, there will be local and regional destinations, and there will be an ability to connect more with international destinations that will be served in the way the Kingdom desires in accordance with its Vision 2030.

As for the expected ticket fares, Douglas said that commercial aviation has a competitive advantage in the region, and there are many factors that affect ticket prices, including the cost and the way in which you offer the services of these airlines. “The company will provide full five-star services with international quality amid increasing competition as it is necessary for the company to provide real value in the commercial aviation sector,” he said.

Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammad bin Salman announced on Sunday the establishment of Riyadh Air, a wholly owned company by the Public Investment Fund (PIF). The new national carrier will leverage Saudi Arabia’s strategic geographic location between the three continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe, enabling Riyadh to become a gateway to the world and a global destination for transportation, trade, and tourism.

The establishment of Riyadh Air comes in line with the strategy of the PIF to unleash the potential of promising sectors locally to support the diversification of the economy. Riyadh Air will be chaired by PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan, while Tony Douglas, who brings more than 40 years of experience in the aviation, transportation, and logistics industries, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer. The airline’s senior management will include Saudi and international expertise. Operating from Riyadh as its hub, the airline will usher in a new era for the travel and aviation industry globally.

Meanwhile, Riyadh Air, announced on Tuesday an order of up to 72 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner airplanes in a multi-billion dollar deal. This unprecedented order for a new carrier — 39 confirmed aircraft with an option to acquire 33 additional wide-body 787-9 Dreamliner airplanes — is a strong signal of intent for Saudi Arabia to become a global aviation hub.

This agreement is part of Saudi Arabia’s wider strategic plan to transform the country into a global aviation hub. In total, national carriers today announced their intent to purchase up to 121 Dreamliners 787 in what will be the fifth-largest commercial order by value in Boeing’s history.

The deal is expected to support nearly 100,000 direct and indirect jobs and more than 300 suppliers from across 38 states, including 145 US small businesses, while in Saudi Arabia, the new airline is expected to add $20 billion to non-oil GDP growth and create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs.

The new King Salman International Airport and Riyadh Air are among the latest investments of PIF in the aviation sector, which aim to raise the financial sustainability of the aviation sector and enhance its global competitiveness in order to achieve the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.

March 14, 2023
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