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 Riyadh Air to Launch Commercial Operations in H1-2025


Riyadh Air to Launch Commercial Operations in H1-2025

Riyadh Air, Saudi Arabia’s new airline, is expected to launch its commercial operations by end of the first half of 2025, the airline’s Chief Operating Officer Peter Bellew disclosed on the side lines of the Singapore Airshow on Tuesday.

Riyadh Air is the cutting edge of digital aviation and is adopting the best international sustainability and safety practices to deliver an exceptional travel experience by bringing together the brightest minds from across the aviation industry, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world to make this vision a reality.

Riyadh Air expects to begin test flying in Q3 of 2024, as it works toward getting its air operator’s certificate. “Then we would plan to be operating commercially at the end of the first half of next year,” Bellew said.

Riyadh Air, the second flag carrier of Saudi Arabia and was established by the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF) in March 2023. Its main hub will be King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh and the airline plans to operate domestic and international scheduled flights to over 100 different destinations in the Middle East and six continents around the world.

H R H Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman formally announced the establishment of Riyadh Air, the country’s newest national airline. The airline had ordered 39 Boeing 787-9 aircraft, with options for 33 more aircraft.

According to a report in Aviation Week, Riyadh Air expects deliveries of its Boeing 787-9s to begin in the second quarter (Q2) of next year,

With 39 orders for the 787 variant, plus options for an additional 33, the Saudi Arabian state-owned start-up carrier has also been considering a large order of narrow-bodies. A decision favouring the 737 MAX is likely, given the Airbus A320neo family’s constraints for near-term availability, the report said.

COMAC’s C919 Praised

But it was a third OEM for which Peter Bellew reserved high praise in remarks made at the Singapore Airshow. Calling Commercial Aircraft Manufacturing Company’s (COMAC) C919, the commercial passenger jet, as the world’s best-kept secret aircraft, he said that the company will build a world-beating aircraft within the next decade.

“It’s great for the industry to have another force out there,” Bellew said referring to the Shanghai-based company. “I wouldn’t underestimate COMAC for one minute. I think they will be a real force to be reckoned with,” he said.

A total of 109 COMAC aircraft are currently in service, according to the Aviation Week Fleet Discovery database, with only two outside of China—in Indonesia. The manufacturer has firm orders for another 1,250 aircraft, the data showed.

COMAC has received orders from Tibet Airlines (40 C919s and 10 ARJ21s) and lessor Henan Civil Aviation Development & Investment Group (six ARJ21s) on the first day of the Singapore Airshow, during what was the OEM’s first overseas order signing.

Once deliveries of its 787s begin, Bellew described the rest of its first batch of 39 as coming quite quickly over the next few years. The airline’s goal is to link up pretty much every major capital that there is, to Riyadh, the report quoting Bellew said.

Global Business Magazine

Global Business Magazine

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