The young Saudi airline Riyadh Airscheduled to take off in 2025, is expected to announce an order for 100 single-aisle Boeing 737 MAX during the Dubai Air Show this week, according to the agency Bloomberg.
The agreement provides for 50 firm orders and 50 other options, but the agency Blomberg did not specify which models of the 737 MAX family the Saudi airline intended to choose.
Former Etihad Airways boss Tony Douglas was hired in March to run Riyadh Air, which is owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. Last week he said his airline would order a number “important” of narrow-body (single-aisle) aircraft in the coming weeks. Without specifying the number of planes, he described the order as “considerable” and declared that the agreement would constitute “a very, very clear signal of intent“. And to add: “This is the biggest start-up since Qatar Airways“.
In March, Riyadh Air already announced an order for up to 72 wide-body aircraft Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner -including 39 firm orders and an option to acquire 33 additional aircraft.
The creation of a second Saudi national airline alongside the national carrier Saudia is part of the plan to diversify the economy of oil-producing Saudi Arabia. “We are not connected well enough. It’s as simple as that“, Tony Douglas said, explaining that the new airline would benefit from the rapid growth of the Saudi economy and a plan to attract more tourists to the kingdom.