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According to a report by Wego, a major shift is underway in the Saudi Arabian aviation industry. Saudia—the nation’s carrier—plans to exit the capital’s airport King Khalid International Airport (RUH) in Riyadh.
With this shift, Saudia will primarily concentrate its operations at King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED) in Jeddah, marking a transition that is anticipated to be completed by the approaching decade’s turn. By doubling down on Jeddah and the western region of Saudi Arabia, Saudia foresees a substantial surge in passenger traffic by 2030.
This strategic move clears the path for Riyadh Air, a fledgling airline established earlier this year, to take over operations in Riyadh.
Riyadh Air itself is swiftly making headway, having initiated the process for securing its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) and securing its initial cohort of 20 pilots. The airline is poised and confident in its official launch, slated for 2025.
This development underscores a new era in aviation for the region, with Riyadh Air poised to shape the skies by expanding its fleet to potentially encompass 300 aircraft within the next ten years.
Saudia, in tandem with this transition, has signed a codeshare agreement with Riyadh Air during Dubai Airshow event this year, aiming to leverage their combined networks for an interconnected and comprehensive service.
This agreement is set to enable both carriers to utilize a connected network, benefitting passengers on both ends. It aims to secure the future status of Riyadh and Jeddah as pivotal hubs for their individual airlines.