Tony Douglas, the current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Riyadh International Airlines (RIA) and the former CEO of Etihad Airways, has reportedly parted ways with RIA after just a few months into the position.
The story was reported by Arabian Business, citing sources close to the matter. Douglas joined RIA in September 2022. Serving as the CEO of Etihad Airways since 2018, the executive oversaw the carrier’s attempts to become profitable once again, something it had failed to do between 2015 and H1 2022.
While RIA has not yet been officially launched, it is expected that the carrier, backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), will be announced soon. The Saudi PIF will invest at least $30 billion into the airline out of the total $100 billion to be invested in developing the aviation industry in Saudi Arabia, per the Saudi Vision 2030.
RIA will compete against other Middle East-based airlines known for their luxury, namely Emirates, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways. Apart from a rumored order of 40 Airbus A350s in October 2022, details of the airline are scarce.
SAUDIA, previously known as Saudi Arabian Airlines, is based in Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED). It has also been rumored that another carrier will be set up in the country, namely in Neom, a planned smart city in northwestern Saudi Arabia.