DALLAS – A second national carrier for Saudi Arabia? Yes, and it seems it’s aiming for the throne. The Gulf country is going big, and as part of its 2030 Vision plan, a brand new airline is in the making.
As reported earlier during the 2022 Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia plans to invest US$100bn sourced from public and private investors over the next 10 years. The funding will fuel the upgrade of existing airports—namely, Riyadh (RUH) and Jeddah (JED)—and the launch of a new national carrier based in RUH, operating alongside Saudia (SV).
According to sources in the General Direction of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia (GACA), the plans for the new airline are still in progress, with an eventual announcement in the coming months, including the long-awaited name.
GACA officers say a second national airline will be an important part of achieving the ambitious Vision 2030 goals. Earlier this year, during the 2022 Future Aviation Forum, authorities predicted that the country “will emerge as the Middle East aviation hub,” flying more than 330 million passengers and five million tonnes of freight to 250 destinations by 2030.
Saudi Arabia is currently establishing its Vision 2030 project, meant to reduce its dependency on oil by stimulating the diversification of its economy and developing service sectors, including civil aviation.
“Right now, about 60 percent of all air traffic into Saudi comes from the Middle East,” the source added, stating that while Asia-Pacific is around 20 percent, Africa is just 10%—”this is where the huge potential is,” a source mentioned to regional news outlet Arabian Business.
Faisal F. Alibrahim, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Economy, has previously echoed the country’s ambitions, saying that the aviation sector will contribute US$75bn to the gross domestic product by 2030. “From a commercial aviation perspective, a solid ecosystem will cause a multiplier effect, driving us into a leading hub within the region,” he said at the 2022 Future Aviation Forum.
Featured image: Max Langley/Airways