This article is reviewed regularly by Wegos editorial team to ensure that the content is up to date & accurate. 

Updated May 2024

Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s vision of a diversified, less-dependent-on-oil Saudi economy is being materialized through the Saudi Arabia Vision 2030 initiative. Among others, the roadmap has so far revealed the ambitious Red Sea Project set to be completed sometime in 2030.

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As announced by the Crown Prince, Riyadh Air is the Kingdom’s new national airline. The airline is poised to capitalize on the country’s unique location at the crossroads of three continents: Asia, Africa, and Europe. Riyadh Air will begin commercial operations in the first half of 2025. Here’s everything Wego knows about Riyadh Air till now. 

Riyadh Air latest news

Riyadh Air recently announced that it has joined the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative that promotes responsible business practices and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. Riyadh Air is committed to implementing the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles. As an active participant in the UNGC, Riyadh Air will adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies in areas such as human rights, labor, the environment, and anti-corruption.

Riyadh Air – Saudi’s new national airline

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Prime Minister and Chairman of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), has announced the establishment of a new national airline, Riyadh Air. With its headquarters in the Saudi capital, the airline aims to capitalize on the country’s strategic location between three continents: Asia, Africa, and Europe, to establish Riyadh as a global hub for transportation, trade, and tourism.

Chaired by His Excellency Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Governor of PIF, the airline will be led by Tony Douglas, a veteran with over 40 years of experience in the aviation, transportation, and logistics industries. The airline’s senior management team will comprise seasoned experts from Saudi Arabia and around the world, ensuring a diversity of perspectives and a wealth of experience.

The establishment of Riyadh Air is expected to usher in a new era for the travel and aviation industry globally by providing tourists from around the world with the opportunity to visit Saudi Arabia’s cultural and natural attractions. Additionally, the airline is projected to contribute an additional USD 20 billion to the non-oil GDP growth and generate over 200,000 job opportunities, both directly and indirectly.

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Riyadh Air flights and routes

Riyadh Air, Saudi’s new national airline, is set to become a major player in the aviation industry globally, as it plans to connect the Saudi capital to over 100 destinations worldwide. The airline will operate out of Riyadh, which will be its operational hub. This move aligns with the Public Investment Fund’s (PIF) mandate to enable the aviation ecosystem in Saudi Arabia.

To ensure that the airline provides the best possible experience for its customers, Riyadh Air will acquire modern aircraft equipped with the latest technology. Additionally, the airline will adopt world-class sustainability and safety practices to ensure the safety of its passengers and crew while also minimizing its environmental impact.

The airline’s strategic location in Riyadh will also make it easier for tourists to access these attractions and will likely contribute to an increase in tourism in Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh Air jobs

Saudi Arabia’s new airline Riyadh Air has now started the recruitment process and has invited pilots to apply as it gears to start operations in 2025.

The chief operating officer of Riyadh Air, Peter Bellew, stated, “We are looking for the first complement of pilots to join our team, which will take us through the training period and build right up to the launch of the airline. I encourage anybody who’s got experience training on the Boeing 787-9 or the Boeing 777 aircraft to look online at the opportunities we have.”

As per the reports, Riyadh Air plans to hire 700 pilots trained to fly the Boeing 787-9 or the Boeing 777 aircraft in the next three years. Interested candidates who want to avail the opportunity can apply online at the Riyadh Air website.

The chief operating officer began the interview process in September 2023, and the airline started the formal induction of people in January 2024.

For further details regarding the application process, job description, requirements, and other relevant information, please visit the Riyadh Air website.

Riyadh Air fleets

On 4 June 2023, Riyadh Air introduced its inaugural aircraft. The predominant colour schemes employed consist of lavender and blue. Lavender, a flower indigenous to Saudi Arabia, represents hospitality, and the government utilizes it for ceremonial and official functions.

Riyadh Air has plans for the ongoing expansion of its fleet, focusing on the inclusion of 787-9 aircraft manufactured by Boeing. Back in March, the airline revealed an order for 39 Dreamliners, with the possibility of acquiring 33 more as optional additions. Additionally, Riyadh Air is in the final stages of confirming an order for narrowbody aircraft.

Saudi’s USD 100 billion investment

As part of Saudi Arabia’s USD 100 billion investment in the aviation sector, the creation of the new airline, along with the establishment of its global routes, will be the main focus of the investment plan, which will culminate in 2023. With tourism being one of the core elements of the Kingdom’s economic diversification plan, the addition of a five-star flag carrier would enable Saudi Arabia to be more competitive with its regional rivals. 

Saudi Vision 2030: The Kingdom’s Ambitious Plan for a Sustainable Future

Hajj and Umrah will naturally continue to play an important role, which is why the existing national carrier, Saudia, will shift its focus to Saudi Arabia’s religious tourism sector.

Riyadh’s new airport

As part of the Vision 2030 strategy, Saudi Arabia has declared plans to build King Salman International Airport as a huge aviation hub having six parallel runways and a capacity of 120 million travellers by 2030. This new airport will subsume the current King Khaled Airport.

Funding for the project will be provided by Saudi Arabia’s PIF. The estimated value of the project is somewhere around USD 430 billion and is still in its very early stages.

The planned airport will serve as the base of operation for the new national airline while doubling the Kingdom’s cargo capacity. The aim is to transform Riyadh into one of the world’s 10 biggest city economies by 2030 and thereby doubling its population to reach the 15 million mark.

The new airport will be in direct competition with the Dubai International Airport, Abu Dhabi International Airport, and Doha International Airport.


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