Saudi Arabia's Minister of Investment says to expect announcements of more new airlines to be based in the Gulf kingdom. Khalid Al Falih told the Al-Arabiya outlet at this week's Paris Air Show that Riyadh should be connected to 100 cities worldwide "without any transits."

"The kingdom is a large country in terms of size, population, economy, and tourism, deserving (of) a wide range of airlines," he said. “Currently, Saudi Arabia is served by prominent airlines such as Saudia, flynas, and Riyadh Air, with more expected to be announced in the near future."

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia announced the launch of Riyadh Air and NEOM Airlines (Neom Bay). Riyadh Air is expected to start operations later this year and has thus far ordered thirty-nine B787-9 with another order expected. NEOM Airlines intends to launch towards the end of 2024 or early 2025.

As reported by ch-aviation, Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) recently invited suitably qualified local and foreign applicants to apply for an air operator's licence to set up and run a low-cost carrier out of Dammam, with the rights to operate domestic and international flights. The GACA said the purpose of issuing a new licence was to improve the competitiveness in the industry and help achieve the objectives of the Saudi Aviation Strategy. The strategy wants Saudi Arabia to connect to over 250 destinations and handle 330 million airline passengers by 2030.

Riyadh's King Abdulaziz International Airport is the busiest in the country, served by 48 airlines. According to ch-aviation PRO airports data, the airport is connected to 119 cities in 53 countries, already exceeding Al Falih's target for the airport.