Saudi Arabia announce second national carrier

The new airline is expected to catapult the country into 5th place for global air transit traffic

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has announced plans to launch a second national airline.  

The Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) will also finance the development of a brand-new airport in Riyadh to serve as its main base of operations. 

Riyadh Airports
Photo Riyadh Airports 

The addition of another flag carrier coincides with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 strategy which aims to reduce its reliance on oil by boosting other parts of the economy.  

This includes the development of air, rail and road networks over the next ten years, which would increase the transport and logistics sector's contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) by 4%. 

While the country currently has one of the smallest airline networks in the region, the operator is set to expand the number of international destinations from Saudi Arabia to more than 250, whilst doubling its air cargo capacity beyond 4.5 million tonnes. 

Bin Salman gave no further details on when or how the unnamed company would be created. Its current firm, Saudia, has endured significant losses in recent years, and has been severely impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.