Riyadh Air CEO Tony Douglas (left) and STA CEO Fhad Hamidaddin. Image Credit: Riyadh Air

Dubai: Riyadh Air, Saudi Arabia's new airline and Saudi Tourism Authority (STA), have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at Dubai's Arabian Travel Market (ATM), that will enhance the travel experience for passengers to and from Saudi Arabia.

The airline, owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), aims to fly to over 100 countries by 2030, and through this partnership, both entities will collaborate on various initiatives to enhance the level of service for tourists.

STA CEO Fhad Hamidaddin said, "Increasing Saudi Arabia's connectivity with the world is a crucial pillar of our tourism strategy. It will ensure we sustain our rapid growth and meet our new ambitious target of 150 million visits by 2030."

"We are currently connected to over 180 destinations and aim to triple annual passenger traffic to 330 million by 2030, and this new agreement will help turbocharge these efforts," Hamidaddin added.

Commenting on the partnership, Tony Douglas, Riyadh Air CEO, said: "This is another momentous day in the history of Riyadh Air. Working alongside the STA to elevate the travel experience for our guests and those visiting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia signifies what we're all about. We are elevating standards across the board in aviation to previously unseen levels. We have a shared commitment to travel and tourism in the Kingdom along with our forward-thinking approach to innovation, sustainability, and the satisfaction of our guests."

The partnership will focus on several key areas:

  • Riyadh Air and the STA will jointly announce new routes and destinations to raise global awareness among travellers.
  • Both will promote Saudi Arabia and any new destinations with an aligned strategy to attract and inform guests worldwide. Riyadh Air is expected to contribute to KSA's non-oil GDP growth by $20 billion while directly and indirectly creating over 200,000 new jobs globally and locally.
  • Riyadh Air and the STA engage in sponsorship opportunities, enabling both parties to leverage each other's networks and resources.
  • Working in unison, Riyadh Air and the STA will ensure a notable presence at key industry trade shows and major international events in the travel and tourism sector.
  • The MoU will ensure accessibility to tourism-related platforms such as the Sustainable Tourism Observatories in Cities (STOCH) to keep both parties visible and accessible to tourists and guests year-round.
  • Guests will benefit from collaboration between Riyadh Air and the STA thanks to joint benefits with their respective loyalty programs.
  • Collaboration on payment solutions will simplify airline booking processes, enhancing the overall booking experience for Riyadh Air guests and tourists coming to Saudi Arabia.
  • Riyadh Air and the STA will be active in the Tourism Accelerator Programme, driving innovation, growth and sustainability within the tourism sector. Riyadh Air also plays a crucial role in contributing to Saudi Arabia's broader economic diversification and job creation toward realising Vision 2030 goals.
  • As globally recognisable entities, both will work in unison to develop and produce various travel and tourism products that enhance travellers' overall experience.
  • As part of the agreement, Riyadh Air and the STA will gather invaluable feedback and information from travellers to improve services and the overall experience where necessary.

Riyadh Air recently celebrated its first anniversary, signing major agreements and partnerships with global partners as it continues to prepare for its maiden flight in mid-2025.