Riyadh Air, the newest Saudi Arabian airline that aims to establish itself as a major carrier in the Gulf, is eyeing an order for up to 150 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
According to a report by Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, the startup airline is talking with Boeing about finalizing a deal that would include up to 150 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. In total, Riyadh Air is in the market for between 300 and 400 narrow-body aircraft, with Airbus also part of the equation.
However, the European Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) has limited delivery slots for newly built aircraft, in particular, the A320neo family aircraft.
If the order materializes, it will add up to the carrier’s order book which already consists of up to 72 Boeing 787 aircraft. Riyadh Air ordered the 787s in March 2023, when it signed with Boeing a firm order for 39 wide-body jets with options for 33 more.
Previously there were rumors that Riyadh Air would also order 40 Airbus A350 aircraft.
Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) and the country’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, also the Chairman of the PIF, launched Riyadh Air on March 12, 2023.
“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.
Riyadh Air hired Tony Douglas, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Etihad Airways, to lead the company. Other notable hires include Peter Bellew, the airline’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) who has previously worked at Ryanair and easyJet, as well as Malaysia Airlines, and Vincent Coste, the new Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), who worked as the CCO at Kenya Airways and Gulf Air.
The airline plans to receive its Boeing 787s in early 2025 and launch flights in the same year.