CAIRO, June 29 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday announced plans to launch a second national airline as part of a broader strategy to turn the kingdom into a logistics hub global as it seeks to diversify from oil.
The creation of another national carrier would catapult Saudi Arabia to 5th in the world in terms of air transit traffic, official state media reported, without giving details on when and how the airline would be. created.
Prince Mohammad has spearheaded Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy and the largest geographically Gulf country, to increase non-oil revenues to around 45 billion riyals ($ 12.00 billion) d ‘by 2030.
Making the kingdom a global logistics hub, which includes the development of ports, rail and road networks, would increase the contribution of the transport and logistics sector to gross domestic product from 6% to 10%, the agency said. SPA official press.
“The comprehensive strategy aims to position Saudi Arabia as a global logistics hub connecting the three continents,” Prince Mohammed said in the SPA report.
“It will help other sectors like tourism, haj and umrah achieve their national goals. “
The addition of another airline would increase the number of international destinations departing from Saudi Arabia to over 250 and double air cargo capacity to over 4.5 million tonnes, according to the SPA report.
With the current flag carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), the kingdom has one of the smallest air networks in the region relative to its size. Saudia has struggled with losses for years and, like her global peers, has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Local media reported earlier this year that the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), is planning to build a new airport in Riyadh as part of the new airline’s launch, without giving further details. .
The fund is the primary vehicle for boosting Saudi investment at home and abroad, as the young prince, known in the West as MbS, seeks to diversify the kingdom’s oil economy through his Vision 2030 strategy.
(1 $ = 3,7503 riyals)
Reportage of Nayera Abdallah et Alaa Swilam; Written by Ghaida Ghantous and Marwa Rashad; Montage by Sonya Hepinstall, Marguerita Choy and Jane Wardell
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.