The move is part of a plan to turn the kingdom into a global logistics hub and build port, rail and road networks.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday announced plans to launch a second national airline as part of a broader strategy to transform the kingdom into a global logistics hub as he seeks to diversify from oil.
The creation of another national carrier would catapult Saudi Arabia to fifth in the world in terms of air transit traffic, official state media reported, without giving details on when and how the airline would be. created.
Crown Prince Mohammed has spearheaded Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy and the largest country in the Gulf geographically, to bring his non-oil revenues to around 45 billion riyals ($ 12 billion) from by 2030.
Making the kingdom a global logistics hub, which includes the development of ports, rail and road networks, would increase the contribution of the transport and logistics sector to gross domestic product from 6% to 10%, the agency said. SPA official press.
“The comprehensive strategy aims to position Saudi Arabia as a global logistics hub connecting the three continents,” the crown prince said in the SPA report. “It will help other sectors like tourism, Hajj and Umrah to achieve their national goals.”
The addition of another airline would increase the number of international destinations departing from Saudi Arabia to more than 250 and double the air cargo capacity to more than 4.5 million tonnes, according to the SPA report.
With the current flag carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), the kingdom has one of the smallest air networks in the region relative to its size. Saudia has struggled with losses for years and, like her global peers, has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Local media reported earlier this year that the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), is planning to build a new airport in Riyadh as part of the new airline’s launch, without giving further details. . The fund is the primary vehicle for boosting Saudi investment at home and abroad, as the Crown Prince, known in the West as MBS, seeks to diversify the kingdom’s oil economy through his Vision 2030 strategy.
Last week Bloomberg announced that the new airport would be serve as the base for a new airline, which would serve tourists and business travelers, while the national carrier Saudia would focus on religious tourism from its base in Jeddah.
The state-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines is the kingdom’s largest airline. Others include the low-cost airline Flyadeal, owned by Saudi Arabian Airlines, and Flynas, owned by Kingdom Holding of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud.