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Saudi Arabia in the News Saudi Aviation Industry

Riyadh Air and Turkish Airlines: A New Era of Aviation

Written by Juergen Steinmetz

Turkish Airlines, the airline that flies to more international destinations than any other airline, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Riyadh Air, the second flag carrier of Saudi Arabia which is anticipated to initiate its operational launch in mid-2025.

The Agreement heralds a new era of enhanced travel experiences for guests flying between Türkiye and Saudi Arabia and further beyond while laying the ground for deeper future collaborations.

This agreement, signed at the prestigious ICAO Air Services Negotiation Event (ICAN2023) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, by Turkish Airlines Chief Investment and Technology Officer, Levent Konukcu, and Riyadh Air CEO, Tony Douglas, marks a significant step towards expanding airlines’ global reach and offering more seamless travel options.

Under this partnership, guests of both airlines will enjoy the convenience of a comprehensive interline and codeshare agreement, allowing for smooth connections across the networks of both Turkish Airlines and Riyadh Air.

A key feature of this cooperation is the integration of loyalty programs, enabling members to earn points or credits on codeshare flights operated by either airline. Both airlines are also exploring the potential for a broader loyalty agreement that will span their networks, providing more value to the frequent flyers.

Additionally, this MOU paves the way for Turkish Airlines and Riyadh Air to explore joint initiatives across various sectors, including cargo, digital development, and other aviation-related services. This partnership is not just about enhancing guest benefits; it’s also about leveraging synergies to drive innovation and efficiency across the operations.

On the MoU, Turkish Airlines Chief Investment and Technology Officer, Levent Konukcustated; “We are happy to start our relationship with Riyadh Air, a promising new player in the aviation industry. This Memorandum of Understanding is more than a collaboration; it’s a bridge between Türkiye and Saudi Arabia, further strengthening our ties. 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 passengers but also contribute significantly to the tourism and business sectors of both countries.”

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.

Bilateral agreements with established network airlines are extremely important to Riyadh Air and there are significant benefits to this partnership, our passengers can enjoy greater connectivity to the world and deeper access to Türkiye, while an increased flow in volumes of tourism, religious and business travel into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is anticipated. Turkish Airlines is a world-class aviation brand, and we are proud that they wish to play a part in the Riyadh Air story.”