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Riyadh Air, Delta to Expand Global Flight Network

Delta will become Riyadh Air’s exclusive partner airline in the US.

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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Riyadh Air, the Saudi Arabian airline backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), has entered into a preliminary cooperation agreement with American Delta Air Lines Inc. The agreement will enable both airlines to book customers on each other’s flights, pending regulatory approvals.[1]

Delta will become Riyadh Air’s exclusive partner airline in the US, marking Delta’s first collaboration with a Gulf carrier.

The partnership between Riyadh Air and Delta extends beyond passenger bookings; they also plan to explore cooperation in areas such as maintenance, repair, overhaul services, ground handling, and training. Additionally, the airlines are considering a future joint venture to coordinate routes and flight schedules, potentially enhancing their operational synergy.

Riyadh Air, scheduled to commence operations mid-next year, aims to reclaim market share from established Gulf carriers like Emirates and Qatar Airways. The airline has been actively forming alliances with airlines worldwide as part of its strategy to build a robust global network before its official launch.

The initiative aligns with Saudi Arabia's broader economic goals of boosting tourism and diversifying its economy by enhancing international connectivity.

At the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai in May, Riyadh Air signed an MoU with the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) that will expand its operations to over 100 countries by 2030 and improve the travel experience for passengers. 

According to OAG, the Middle East has an airline capacity of around 22.25 million seats, up by 6.76% year-on-year (YoY). As of May 2024, international travel dominated flights, with 17.93 million international seats compared to 4.32 million domestic ones.

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