Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stated plans to launch a second national airline as measure of a wider policy to turn the kingdom into a worldwide logistics center as it pursues to expand from oil. The formation of another flag carrier would project Saudi Arabia into the fifth rank internationally in terms of air transit traffic. Crown Prince has been leading a drive for Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy and the biggest country in the Gulf geographically, to increase non-oil revenues to about 45 billion riyals ($12bn) by 2030. According to the state news agency, Making the kingdom a global logistics hub, which contains the growth of ports, rail and road networks, would surge the transport and logistics sector’s involvement to gross domestic product to 10 percent from six percent. The inclusion of another airline would rise the number of international destinations from Saudi Arabia to more than 250 and double air cargo capacity to more than 4.5 million tonnes. With existing flag carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), the kingdom has one of the lowest airline networks in the region comparative to its size. The country has struggled with losses for years and like worldwide peers, has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. As per the vision of crown prince kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, (PIF), planned to build a new airport in Riyadh as part of the new airline launch. The fund is the main vehicle for increasing Saudi Arabian investments at home and abroad as the crown prince seeks to expand the kingdom’s oil-heavy economy through his Vision 2030 strategy.
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