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Riyadh Air Forms New Partnership with Singapore Airlines and Chinese Carriers in Dubai

DUBAI- Riyadh Air (RX), Saudi Arabia’s newest national airline and Singapore Airlines (SIA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to form a new partnership between the two airlines.

Subsequently, Riyadh Air has emphasized the significance of the Chinese market by signing a MoU with both Air China (CA) and China Eastern Airlines (MU).

Riyadh Air and Singapore Airlines Sign Strategic Agreement to Establish Commercial Partnership
Photo: Riyadh Air

Riyadh Air Singapore Airlines Partnership

The agreement was signed by Riyadh Air CEO Mr. Tony Douglas and Singapore Airlines CEO Mr. Goh Choon Phong during the 80th International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Dubai, UAE, on June 2, 2024.

Under the MoU, the airlines will explore interline connectivity opportunities, subject to regulatory approval. They will also consider other areas of commercial cooperation, including codeshare arrangements, reciprocal benefits for frequent flyer members, cargo services, customer experience, and digital innovation, laying the foundation for a deeper, long-term strategic partnership.

This collaboration could provide Riyadh Air’s guests with access to SIA’s network in Southeast Asia and the South West Pacific region, while SIA’s customers would gain greater access to the Middle East through Riyadh Air’s network.

Riyadh Air, a new Saudi Arabian airline, is set to begin commercial operations in 2025, offering travel options to and from the Middle East.

Tony Douglas, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Riyadh Air, stated

“Our strategic partnership with Singapore Airlines unlocks significant benefits for our future guests as it grows our network in partnership with the World’s Best Airline. 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. This relationship is a meaningful and deep cooperation that starts with a wide-ranging codeshare agreement and is expected to include a broad range of areas including digital and technology, loyalty and cargo.”

Subsequently, Goh Choon Phong, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Singapore Airlines added,

“This win-win strategic partnership with Riyadh Air will enable us to offer even more options, enhanced connectivity, and greater benefits to our customers. 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. The MoU will also allow us to find ways to work together to enhance customer experience and cargo services, and harness digital tools and solutions, potentially bringing greater benefits to both airlines in the future.”

Riyadh Air and Air China to Strengthen Relations Following the Signing of MoU at IATA AGM in Dubai
Photo: Riyadh Air

Partnership with Air China

Building on the success of the newly launched Air China flights between Beijing (PEK) and Riyadh (RUH), both airlines signed the MoU to signify the strong relationship between Saudi Arabia and China and their growing economic and political ties.

This agreement will create significant connectivity opportunities in Beijing and Riyadh, two key G20 capital cities.

The airlines will collaborate on potential business ventures, including interline traffic, codeshare agreements, and more.

Mr Douglas, CEO of Riyadh Air, stated,

“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. Together, we will solidify our positions as vital links, further strengthening the economic and cultural ties between our regions, and aligning with both China’s Belt and Road Initiatives and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.”

Subsequently, Ma ChongXian, the Chairman of Air China said,

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.

The signing of this MoU marks the beginning of a mutually beneficial partnership between two flagship carriers connecting the two capitals. With a focus on network expansion and collaboration, both airlines will work together to deepen their cooperation and achieve long-term success.

Riyadh Air, Saudi Arabia’s pioneering airline, marks its first anniversary with the ambition to become the world’s most forward-thinking carrier. By 2030, it aims to connect passengers to 100 global destinations, prioritizing sustainability and setting new travel standards.

As a key player in Vision 2030, Riyadh Air supports economic diversification and job creation, contributing to KSA’s non-oil GDP growth and targeting over 200,000 new jobs.

Riyadh Air and China Eastern Airlines Sign MoU at IATA AGM in Dubai, Fostering Mutually Beneficial Connectivity and Digital Innovation
Photo: Riyadh Air

MoU with China Eastern Airlines

This strategic partnership enhances the expanding economic and cultural ties between China and Saudi Arabia, providing new travel options for underserved markets.

China Eastern Airlines’ recent direct flights from Shanghai (PVG) to Riyadh highlight a shared commitment to improving connectivity and fostering collaboration in trade, tourism, and culture.

Tony Douglas, CEO of Riyadh Air stated,

This MoU marks a significant milestone for Riyadh Air as China is a hugely important market for our future network. By closely collaborating with China Eastern Airlines, a leading player in the Chinese market, we can unlock new travel opportunities and drive economic growth across both countries. We are particularly excited to explore synergies in digital innovation, where both airlines share a commitment to the future of travel.

Our collaboration extends beyond conventional connectivity, fostering collaboration on digital transformation, a critical area for Chinese airlines. Recognizing China Eastern’s ongoing digitalization efforts, Riyadh Air sees immense potential for knowledge sharing and technology development. Riyadh Air’s pioneering approach perfectly aligns with China Eastern’s focus on digital transformation, creating a powerful partnership for the future.

Further, Wang Zhiqing, Chairman of China Eastern Airlines added,

Benefiting from the forward development of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Saudi Arabia, China Eastern Airlines has reached a strategic cooperation with Riyadh Air focused on the future. The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding outlines the broad direction for cooperation between the two companies in areas such as business and promotes exchanges in information technology and digital operations.

We are full of anticipation for the outcomes of this cooperation. China Eastern Airlines is committed to driving high-quality development through comprehensive digital empowerment, enhancing core competitiveness, and providing excellent products and experiences for our customers.

Additionally, the Memorandum of Understanding facilitates the seamless connection between China Eastern Airlines’ Shanghai-based hub network and Riyadh Air’s future route network. This will ease passenger transfers between China and regions such as the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and South America, fostering new development and growth for both parties.

Riyadh Air is a leading force in digital aviation, shaping the future of travel with a focus on innovation and exceptional guest experiences.

As Saudi Arabia’s new national carrier, Riyadh Air connects passengers to key global destinations while showcasing the Kingdom’s beauty and rich heritage.

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