Riyadh Air Partners With Turkish Airlines

A Riyadh Air Boeing 787 Dreamliner flying over Riyadh celebrating the upcoming airline which has now signed a partnership with Turkish Airlines

Riyadh Air has signed a crucial MoU to offer a strategic partnership with Turkish Airlines to benefit customers.

The MoU will benefit guests travelling between the Kingdom, Türkiye and points beyond their Riyadh and Istanbul hubs. However, this initial cooperation has been labelled as key for laying the groundwork for further growth.

Riyadh Air and Turkish Airlines believe that taking advantage of the respective worldwide networks harbours excellent potential for interline and codeshare agreements.

A deal was signed on the sidelines of the  ICAO Air Services Negotiation Event (ICAN 2023) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Turkish Airlines Chief Investment and Technology Officer, Levent Konukcu, and Riyadh Air CEO Tony Douglas were present.


While a deal is being signed in the final month of 2023, the cooperation will only be available when Ryadh Air launches.

The Saudi-based carrier is targeting a mid-2025 launch with the Boeing 787 aircraft. While a rumoured deal for the 737 MAX was expected to be completed in November, that front has gone cold.

Benefits Outlined For Customers

When flying on Riyadh Air or Turkish Airlines, this cooperation will allow members of either respective loyalty program to earn credits or points when on codeshare services.

However, as this is an initial strategic announcement, the pair have a view, as outlined in a news release, of deepening their loyalty agreement to cover both global networks.

Broader synergies and efficiencies across the value chain have also been studied as the pair looks to work together long into the future. This includes but won’t be limited to cargo and digital development and necessary aviation-related services.

Comments From Executives

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.

Riyadh Air CEO, Tony Douglas

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 customers but also contribute significantly to the tourism and business sectors of both countries.

Turkish Airlines Chief Investment & Technology Officer, Levent Konukcu

Looking Ahead For Riyadh Air

A strategic signing of a partnership with Turkish Airlines is another crucial step in the right direction for the Saudi-based airline as it gears up for launch.

Having already committed to a substantial amount of Boeing 787s, regulatory approval and clearance permitting, the mission is to launch scheduled operations in the next 18 months, with a mid-2025 launch.

The carrier would thus become the latest company out of the Middle East. It will launch following an establishment by the PIF’s mandate to unlock key sectors and drive diversification to the Saudi Arabian economy.

Additionally, there’s a view for Riyadh Air to support the aviation division of Saudi Arabia by enabling the National Tourism Strategy. Hopefully, by the turn of the decade, more will wish to fly to Saudi Arabia.

Daniel Fowkes
05 Dec 2023
· Airlines 

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