10 Muharram 1446 - 16 July 2024
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Eye of Riyadh
Tourism & Hospitality | Thursday 14 March, 2024 11:35 am |

Saudi Arabia’s digitally native airline reaches several key milestones and announced significant partnership agreements

Riyadh Air, Saudi Arabia’s new world-class airline, is celebrating an extraordinary first anniversary, following its historic inception on the 12th of March 2023. 


During its first year in operation Riyadh Air, which is set to fly to 100 countries by 2030, dominated industry conversations signing major agreements and partnerships with partners, both in Saudi Arabia and around the world.


Riyadh Air’s first anniversary comes as the airline is accelerating its journey to take off in 2025, and as it aims to become the world’s most forward-thinking carrier, embracing the best sustainability practices, elevating air travel and setting a new standard for reliability, comfort, and hospitality. As a catalyst for the National Transport and Logistics Strategy and National Tourism Strategy Riyadh Air is playing a key role in contributing to Saudi Arabia’s wider economic diversification and jobs creation, toward realizing Vision 2030 goals, while contributing to KSA’s non-oil GDP growth by USD 20 billion and directly and indirectly creating over 200,000 new jobs globally and locally.


Looking back on a colossal first year CEO Tony Douglas said: “2023 was a monumental year for Riyadh Air and we’re immensely proud of the progress we’ve made in the last 12 months as we celebrate our first anniversary - but we’re only just getting started. 


This year is set to be an even bigger one for us and we can’t wait to reveal more as we continue to accelerate towards our maiden flight in 2025, as we become the most forward-thinking carrier in the skies.”


“I would like to thank our partners, stakeholders and team for supporting us in our vision to disrupt the aviation industry and delivering an airline experience like no other,” he continued


Significant highlights during Riyadh Air’s first year included:


Riyadh Air inauguration and major wide body order 

  • Following its inauguration in March 2023 by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Prime Minister and Chairman of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), Riyadh Air placed a significant aircraft order of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, showing a real statement of intent, as the airline aims to become the world’s most forward-thinking carrier, embracing the best sustainability practices, elevating air travel and setting a new standard for reliability, comfort, and hospitality. Riyadh Air also signed a deal for 90 GEnx engines to power its Boeing 787 fleet along with being officially welcomed into the global aviation ecosystem with the unique ‘RX’ code.


Riyadh Air unveiled its stunning dual-livery designs in Paris and Dubai

  • In June, Riyadh Air unveiled to the world its first livery with a flight over its home city of Riyadh, ahead of its official public debut at the 54th Paris Airshow. The historic moment was marked with a ceremony attended by highnesses, excellencies and official dignitaries and was the first time the vibrant lavender-inspired livery was seen in the skies. At the Dubai Airshow, Riyadh Air showcased the second of its spectacular dual-livery designs that displays meticulously crafted details, combining style and sophistication, while paying tribute to Saudi Arabia’s warm hospitality and future-focused vision. 


Riyadh Air signed major Strategic Cooperation Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) with Saudia and Turkish Airlines, as well as a first-of-a-kind partnership with Lucid Motors 

  • At the Dubai Airshow, Riyadh Air and Saudia announced a Strategic Cooperation MoU signifying a major milestone moment of collaborative strength in the KSA aviation ecosystem. The expansive agreement marks the first between the two airlines, laying the foundation for further cooperation in the future.
  • At the 15th International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Air Services Negotiation event (ICAN) Riyadh Air announced a significant deal with Turkish Airlines, its first major agreement outside Saudi Arabia, to provide a comprehensive range of benefits for guests travelling between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Türkiye.
  • Also, at the Dubai Airshow Riyadh Air and Lucid Motors agreed the first innovative partnership, aligned to a shared vision for the future of sustainable transportation and a commitment to exploring collaboration across marketing, commercial and operational streams. 


Major technology, aviation and sport partnerships 

  • In its first year, Riyadh Air signed several technology and engineering partnerships to unlock digital leadership in aviation sustainability, drive innovation and develop cutting-edge technologies to enhance Riyadh Air’s offerings, services, and operational models. Major agreements were agreed with Lufthansa Systems, IBM Consulting, Swiss AS, CAE, Microsoft, Oracle, Sabre and Accenture respectively, enabling Riyadh Air to offer seamless travel experiences and build technical capabilities to ensure readiness for its first flight in 2025. Riyadh Air’s first year ended on a high by agreeing ground-breaking partnerships with Adobe and IBM.
  • Riyadh Air signed its first multi-year partnership with leading Spanish football club, Atlético de Madrid naming the airline as the main and official airline partner.


Riyadh Air also made its debut at several industry events contributing to discussions across the aviation and travel ecosystem with local, regional, and international stakeholders, partners and peers. At the 56th Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO) AGM and the Future Investment Initiative (FII) Tony Douglas, CEO, Riyadh Air, shared updates on Riyadh Air’s path to its first commercial flight and wider contribution to Vision 2030. Riyadh Air made its eagerly anticipated debut at the World Travel Market (WTM) London, alongside 75 partners and stakeholders at the stunning STA pavilion. Tony Douglas joined by tourism ministers from the UK, Egypt, Jordan, Indonesia, Philippines, South Africa, Malta, and Colombia for the Annual Ministers’ Summit, the largest annual global gathering of tourism ministers anywhere in the world, held in association with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).


The establishment of Riyadh Air in line with PIF’s mandate to unlock the capabilities of key sectors locally to drive the diversification of Saudi Arabia’s economy. The airline will also support the Saudi Aviation Strategy's broader vision and enable the National Tourism Strategy and contribute to KSA non-oil GDP growth by USD 20 billion and directly and indirectly creating over 200,000 new jobs globally and locally.

To mark the one-year anniversary, Riyadh Air is launching a “Riyadh Air Team” social media content campaign featuring reflections and perspectives from members of the Riyadh Air team on the airline's journey so far. The content will be showcased across Riyadh Air's social media channels over the coming weeks.



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