Saudi’s new airline RIA to start its operations in 2022
Saudi Arabia’s RIA is set to take its first flight in the upcoming months, as the airline’s development continues to progress.
Backed by the Saudi PIF, around $30bn is initially being invested to create a brand new carrier, with long-term ambitions of becoming a major global player. The initial launch phase, however, will see narrow bodied aircraft rolled out for regional travel, operating out of Riyadh.
“We are talking about a brand-new airline that aims to do what Emirates did in a quarter of the timescale. It’s unprecedented in the history of aviation. It’s also why they have yet to appoint a CEO – whoever takes this job will have to deliver the most ambitious targets you can imagine,” sources confirmed.
Last week, it was reported that the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) was in talks with Boeing Co. and Airbus SE regarding orders for about 80 jets. According to sources familiar with matter, the order was the first purchases for the new national airline.
PIF is looking to buy about 40 planes and take out purchase options for a similar number, the people told Bloomberg, asking not to be identified discussing confidential negotiations.