On Tuesday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced that a new national airline is planned to be launch as part of a national strategy that aims to turn Saudi Arabia into a global logistic hub. The move came as part of the ongoing efforts in diversifying the Kingdom’s economy from oil.
Without providing further details regarding when and how the airline would be established, state media reported that Saudi Arabia would be placed into a global ranking of 5th in terms of air transit traffic, by the establishment of a second national airline.
In his speech, while he was making the announcement, the Saudi Crown Prince said, “The comprehensive strategy aims to position Saudi Arabia as a global logistics hub connecting the three continents.”
“This will help other sectors like tourism, hajj, and umrah to achieve their national targets,” he added.
The broader plan that targets to transform the Kingdom into a global logistic hub includes the improving of ports, rail, and road networks, as well. In this way, the contribution of transport and logistic sectors in the Kingdom’s gross domestic product is planned to be increased from 6% to 10%, the state news agency noted.
By the launching of an additional airline carrier, the number of international destinations from Saudi Arabia is expected to reach more than 250 while the air cargo capacity is thought to increase to more than 4.5 million tonnes, the SPA added.
Currently, Saudi Arabia has a flag carrier airline, Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), which is considered one of the smallest airline networks in the region compared to the Kingdom’s size. The company has been going through a severe economic crisis which was fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this year, it was reported that the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), planned to construct a new airport in Riyadh as part of attempts to establish a new airline. However, no further information on the issue was publicized.