The newest airline in Saudi Arabia, Riyadh Air, is looking to place an order for up to 150 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in an effort to become a significant carrier in the Gulf.
Bloomberg reported that the startup airline is in discussions with Boeing about concluding a deal that would include up to 150 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The report was based on people familiar with the situation. Between 300 and 400 narrow-body aircraft are needed by Riyadh Air in total, and Airbus is a consideration.
The European Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) does, however, have a limited number of delivery slots for recently constructed aircraft, particularly those in the A320neo family.
If the purchase is fulfilled, it will increase the carrier’s order book, which now includes up to 72 Boeing 787 planes. In March 2023, Riyadh Air placed a definite order for 39 wide-body aircraft with options on 33 more with Boeing.
Riyadh Air was previously said to be planning to acquire 40 Airbus A350 planes.
“The establishment of Riyadh Air is part of PIF’s strategy to unlock the capabilities of promising sectors that can help drive the diversification of the local economy. It will enable a more financially resilient aviation ecosystem in Saudi Arabia, supporting the industry’s global competitiveness in line with Vision 2030,” read the announcement by the PIF then.
Tony Douglas, a former CEO of Etihad Airways, was chosen by Riyadh Air to run the organization.
Other prominent additions include Vincent Coste, the new Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), who previously served as the CCO at Kenya Airways and Gulf Air, and Peter Bellew, the airline’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), who has experience working at Malaysia Airlines, Ryanair, and easyJet.
Early in 2025, the airline hopes to acquire its Boeing 787s and begin operations.