Riyadh Air’s Impressive Debut at Dubai Airshow 2023 Sets Stage for Maiden Flight

The next chapter for the skies continued its journey to take off in 2025 as Riyadh Air, Saudi Arabia’s new world-class airline wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), dominated industry conversations with a series of major announcements at last week’s Dubai Airshow.

Making its first appearance at one of the most significant aviation events in the world Riyadh Air hosted several VIP visits, the world’s media and thousands of guests, partners and stakeholders at its 350sqm pavilion. Set against a backdrop of an unmissable Riyadh Air indigo-branded Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, the digital-first experience showcased more about Riyadh Air’s ambitions and future plans as it ushers in a new era for the travel and aviation industry, unlocking KSA’s most beautiful cultural and natural attractions and positioning KSA as a world-class logistics and travel hub.

Executives from the Riyadh Air team also participated in several panel discussions during Dubai Airshow, engaging in key industry conversations such as aviation disruption, technology innovation, guest experience, sustainability, and talent acquisition.

Commenting on Riyadh Air’s hugely successful Dubai Airshow debut Tony Douglas, CEO, Riyadh Air, said “It’s been an extraordinary week, as a digital start-up we want to disrupt the aviation industry and we’ve certainly done that at the Dubai Airshow. Since our launch in March, we have made exceptional progress hitting a number of milestones and in Dubai we’ve continued to shape the future of air travel with our beautiful second livery with a unique iridescent shine unlike any other aircraft, again capturing the world’s attention and going viral across social channels.”

“Our expansive partnership with Saudia shows a solid statement of intent from both airlines which will play a significant part in the growth of travel tourism within the Kingdom. Our alliance with Lucid Group is a clear reflection of our joint values around sustainably, digital thinking and obsessional attention to detail, while our Lufthansa Systems deal sees us adopt the gold standard of aviation systems. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be sharing more exciting updates, developments and milestones for Riyadh Air as we continue the momentum and pace towards our maiden flight in 2025 and as the most forward-thinking carrier in the skies,” he added.

Riyadh Air highlights at the Dubai Airshow 2023 included:

  • Riyadh Air unveiled the second of its stunning dual-livery designs

Following the launch of its first livery at the Paris Airshow in June, on the first day of Dubai Airshow Riyadh Air unveiled to the world the second of its permanent dual-livery designs through an innovative digital launch. The latest livery continues Riyadh Air’s indigo theme with striking lines inspired by the twisting canopies of traditional tents and elegant curves of Arabic calligraphy. The bold new look features a sweeping cockpit window design, with the indigo signature theme contrasted beautifully against a unique iridescent fuselage that reflects purity and the future focused vision of Saudi Arabia.

  • Riyadh Air and Saudia sign a major Strategic Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding

Riyadh Air and Saudia signed a Strategic Cooperation MoU signifying a major milestone moment of collaborative strength in the KSA aviation ecosystem. The expansive agreement marking the first agreement between the two airlines is set to lay the foundation for further cooperation in the future. The national flag carriers of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will work together enabling guests of both carriers to take full advantage of each airline’s worldwide network through a comprehensive interline and codeshare agreement that will allow guests to seamlessly connect between sectors operated by either Saudia or Riyadh Air.

  • Riyadh Air and Lucid Motors partner aligned to a shared vision for the future of sustainable transport

A Memorandum of Understanding signed between Riyadh Air and Lucid Motors at the Dubai Airshow, marked the first innovative partnership between luxury EV manufacturer Lucid Group and Riyadh Air aligned to a shared vision for the future of sustainable transportation exploring the collaboration across co-marketing, commercial and operational streams for targeted guests and travelers. At the Riyadh Air pavilion, two Lucid Air cars were wrapped in the unique Riyadh Air livery while three mobilized Lucid Air cars transported visitors to and from the Dubai Airshow.

  • Riyadh Air to drive innovation with Lufthansa Systems’ cloud-based operations platform 

Riyadh Air also announced it had signed an agreement with Lufthansa Systems as a partner to mutually drive innovation in digitalization and sustainability. The agreement will see the implementation of an integrated suite from Lufthansa Systems helping unlock digital leadership in aviation sustainability.

In the run-up to Dubai Airshow, Riyadh signed major partnerships with IBM Consulting and Microsoft respectively. IBM Consulting will be the lead systems integrator to support building the technology foundation that will enable the digitally native airline to offer seamless travel experiences. Riyadh Air and Microsoft will work together to drive innovation and sustainability across Saudi Arabia’s aviation sector with both organizations collaborating to leverage the potential of cutting-edge technologies to enhance Riyadh Air’s offerings, services, and operational models.

As part of its ongoing recruitment drive as it builds a world class team Riyadh Air is currently running a series of roadshows across London, Paris, Dubai, and Riyadh with a view to recruiting its first intake of cabin crew in Q1 2025.

Riyadh Air aims to become the world’s most forward-thinking carrier embracing the best sustainability practices, elevating air travel and setting a new standard for reliability, comfort, and hospitality. As a catalyst for the National Transport and Logistics Strategy playing a key role in contributing to Saudi Arabia’s wider economic diversification and jobs creation, toward realizing Vision 2030 goals, Riyadh Air is set to fly to more than 100 destinations, contribute to KSA non-oil GDP growth by USD 20 billion and directly and indirectly creating over 200,000 new jobs globally and locally.

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