Article - Airline

Riyadh Air announces new partnerships with Singapore Airlines, Air China

by Jeffrey Teruel - Founder/Editor-Flights in Asia
Published on June 05, 2024


Ahead of its first flights, new Saudi Arabian national airline Riyadh Air has announced partnerships with two Asia-based airlines – Singapore Airlines and Air China.

Ahead of its first flights, new Saudi Arabian national airline Riyadh Air has announced partnerships with two Asia-based airlines – Singapore Airlines and Air China.

Announced during the IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Dubai, Riyadh Air signed agreements with the Singaporean flag carrier and Beijing-based Air China establishing new partnerships with the two carriers.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Singapore Airlines, the carriers will explore opportunities for interline connectivity on each other carriers' services – subject to regulatory approval. Both carriers will also work on other potential areas of commercial cooperation including including codeshare arrangements, reciprocal benefits for their frequent flyer programme members, cargo services, customer experience, and digital innovation as a precursor to a deeper, long-term, strategic partnership.

Through the partnership, Riyadh Air's customers could have access to Singapore Airlines Southeast Asia and South West Pacific network. Singapore Airlines' customers could get greater access to the Middle East.  

“We see huge potential for strong connectivity in South East Asia and both Australia and New Zealand through the award-winning hub at Singapore Changi Airport, while also providing opportunities for westbound passengers to connect across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East region on Riyadh Air,” said Tony Douglas, Chief Executive Officer, Riyadh Air.

“This win-win strategic partnership with Riyadh Air will enable us to offer even more options, enhanced connectivity, and greater benefits to our customers,” said Goh Choon Phong, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Airlines. “Together, we can facilitate the growth of passenger travel between Saudi Arabia and Singapore, and beyond, via our respective networks, supporting both tourism and business links.”

Riyadh Air and Air China Partnership  

Following the launch of Air China's flights between Beijing and Riyadh, Riyadh Air signed a separate MoU to establish a new partnership with the Beijing-based carrier.

As part of the partnership, both carriers will open “significant opportunities” for connectivity in both Beijing and Riyadh, and work together on potential cooperation in business subjects such as codeshare agreements and interline traffic.  

In a statement, Douglas noted the partnership with Air China is part of its future plans.

“Our partnership with Air China, a leading global carrier with a vast network in key Chinese markets, complements Riyadh Air’s ambitious future plans. This MoU represents a significant step towards establishing a long-term partnership that will facilitate seamless travel for passengers between China and the Middle East and beyond,” Douglas said.

Ma ChongXian, Chairman of Air China noted the partnership would promote Riyadh as a gateway for Chinese travelers bound for the Middle east.

“As China's economic influence continues to grow, contributing a significant share of global GDP, Riyadh Air is positioned as a strategic gateway for Chinese passengers seeking connections to the Middle East. The two airlines aim to play a critical role in facilitating trade and tourism exchanges, aligning with both nations' ambitious development plans,” Ma said.

Riyadh Air is expected to start commercial operations in 2025. By 2030, the airline plans to connect passengers to 100 destinations worldwide as part of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030. 

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