Saudi Arabia plans to launch a new carrier and on Tuesday announced a multi-billion-dollar deal to purchase 39 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, with an option for an additional 33.
The new airline, Riyadh Air, was announced Sunday by the country's crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. It initially will operate in Asia, Africa and Europe, with Riyadh as its hub, according to a statement. A new airport is planned for the city. The country also owns Saudia, formerly known as Saudi Arabia Airlines, with its main base at Jeddah's King Abdulaziz International Airport.
Former Etihad Airways chief Tony Douglas is CEO of the new carrier, which is owned by the country's sovereign-wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, of which the crown prince is chairman. The carrier's chairman is Yasir al-Rumayyan, governor of the Public Investment Fund.
Riyadh Air aims to fly to more than 100 global destinations by 2030. The new carrier and the Boeing order "is part of Saudi Arabia's wider strategic plan to transform the country into a global aviation hub," according to the carrier, with the goal of serving 330 million passengers and attracting 100 million visitors through 2030.