KSA: In a pioneering development within the aviation sector, Turkish Airlines (TK) and Riyadh Air (RX) have solidified a Strategic Cooperation MoU aimed at delivering a comprehensive array of benefits to passengers travelling between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Türkiye, as well as connecting points beyond their key hubs in Riyadh and Istanbul.

This pivotal agreement, signed on the sidelines of the ICAO Air Services Negotiation Event (ICAN 2023) in Riyadh, marks the first major collaboration for Riyadh Air with an airline outside of Saudi Arabia.

The essence of the collaboration lies in the creation of a seamless travel experience for guests, enabled through a robust interline and codeshare agreement. Passengers from both airlines will have the unprecedented opportunity to leverage each carrier’s global network, effortlessly connecting between sectors operated by either Riyadh Air or Turkish Airlines.

This partnership is set to unfold its benefits as Riyadh Air prepares to launch operations in mid-2025, contingent upon regulatory approvals by the relevant authorities.

Highlighting a passenger-centric approach, members of Turkish Airlines and Riyadh Air loyalty programs will earn points when using codeshare services. The collaboration goes beyond passenger benefits, with both airlines dedicated to exploring synergies and efficiencies across aviation services, cargo operations, and digital development, demonstrating a commitment to operational excellence.

Official Statements on the Collaboration

Levent Konukcu, Chief Investment & Technology Officer at Turkish Airlines, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration, noting that the MoU signifies more than just a partnership; it serves as a bridge fortifying ties between Türkiye and Saudi Arabia. He further said, “It’s also an opportunity to expand our reach and offer our guests more choices and convenience. We believe this partnership will not only benefit our customers but also contribute significantly to the tourism and business sectors of both countries.”

Echoing this sentiment, Tony Douglas, CEO of Riyadh Air, stated, “This agreement is another very significant step in the evolution of Riyadh Air as we partner with the world’s largest global airline by destinations served. Our close relationship will open up seamless connectivity via the global-leading hub at Istanbul Airport to some 130 destinations worldwide, especially within Türkiye, Europe and the Americas and accelerate our network footprint through the market-leading, guest-centric, digitally focused and like-minded global airline brand that is Turkish Airlines.”

Beyond operational and customer-centric facets, Riyadh Air’s establishment aligns with the Public Investment Fund’s (PIF) mandate, unlocking key sector capabilities for economic diversification in Saudi Arabia. The airline is set to crucially support the broader vision of the Saudi Aviation Strategy and the National Tourism Strategy, fostering increased tourism, religious visits, and business travel into the Kingdom.