Riyadh Air CEO Tony Douglas says airline will not offer first class suites

Riyadh Air's cabin will not feature First Class seating
Riyadh Air

Startup Riyadh Air will not offer first class seats when it begins operations in 2025, the airline’s chief executive officer Tony Douglas has revealed.  

“We will offer business, premium economy, and economy on our long-haul jets but not first,” he told Britain’s The Telegraph at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Istanbul, Turkey. 

Douglas appears to share a similar sentiment to his regional rival, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, who stated during the same IATA AGM that there is no business case to invest in first class seating anymore.   

“Why should you invest in a subclass of an aeroplane that already gives you all the amenities that first class gives you. I don’t see the necessity,” said Al Baker.  

According to the Qatari executive, the airline’s business class equivalent, called the Qsuite, is sufficient for passengers and this is why the airline’s Boeing 777Xs will not offer first class suites.  

Boeing is scheduled to begin 777X deliveries in 2025. 

Meanwhile, Riyadh Air, which was launched by the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, who is also the Chairman of PIF, has continued to reveal more details ahead of its formal launch in 2025. 

On June 4, 2023, the Saudi Arabian carrier unveiled a Boeing 787-9 in the first of two liveries. The 787-9 was spotted leaving Portland International Airport (PDX) on June 5, 2023, on its way to Charleston International Airport (CHS), where Boeing’s 787 assembly, manufacturing, and delivery facilities are located. 

The IATA recently assigned Riyadh Air its flight codes. The Saudi Arabian airline set to use RX as its flight prefix. 

Riyadh Air is scheduled to begin operations in 2025, with Boeing delivering the airline’s first 787 in the same year. 

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