Delta Air Lines and Riyadh Air forge strategic partnership
July 19, 2024
Aviation Saudi Arabia Travel

Delta Air Lines and Riyadh Air forge strategic partnership

To enhance air travel connectivity

Delta Air Lines and Riyadh Air have announced a strategic cooperation agreement to enhance flight options between North America and Saudi Arabia, marking a pivotal moment for carriers and the global aviation industry.

A memorandum of understanding, signed at Delta’s world headquarters in Atlanta on July 9, 2024, outlines a comprehensive framework that promises to enhance passenger experiences and expand network capabilities.

Delta Air Lines, renowned for its premium services and extensive global reach, will be Riyadh Air’s exclusive partner in North America. Simultaneously, Riyadh Air, Saudi Arabia’s ambitious new full-service airline, will reciprocate as Delta’s exclusive partner in Riyadh and beyond.

Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO, said: “The partnership with Riyadh Air will further Delta’s mission of connecting the world and opening an array of new choices, benefits, and destinations for our customers travelling to and from Saudi Arabia.

Delta
(L-R) Tony Douglas and Ed Bastian signed the partnership in Atlanta. Credit: Delta Air Lines

“Most importantly, Riyadh Air shares Delta’s commitment to providing an elevated customer experience, which is why we’re looking forward to building and expanding this partnership in the months and years ahead.”

The collaboration promises many benefits, including enhanced connectivity through interline and codeshare agreements. Plans include exploring an immunised joint venture to deepen regional network planning and growth cooperation.

Best sustainability practices

Additionally, both airlines are committed to integrating best sustainability practices across their operations, aligning with global efforts to reduce environmental impact.

Tony Douglas, CEO of Riyadh Air, stated: “We look forward to enjoying a productive relationship with Delta Air Lines, one of the world’s largest and most successful airlines. Riyadh Air and Delta Air Lines share common goals and pursue the highest standards in many areas, including guest experience, loyalty, and sustainability.”

Central to the partnership is the introduction of new travel options. Delta intends to launch a nonstop service between the United States and King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, opening doors for leisure travellers eager to explore Saudi Arabia’s cultural heritage and business travellers seeking opportunities in the G20 capital city.

The agreement comes amid Saudi Arabia’s $800-billion investment in its tourism sector, which aims to transform the Arabian Gulf nation into a premier destination. This includes developing luxury resorts along the Red Sea and opening historically significant sites like Diriyah and al-Ula to international visitors.

Riyadh Air, set to commence operations in 2025, aims to establish itself as a leading carrier in the Middle East, with Riyadh serving as its operational hub. Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines prepares to celebrate its centenary next year, boasting a century-long legacy of operational excellence and customer service.

“Riyadh Air should begin its journey the same year that Delta launches our second century of flight,” said Bastian. “We’ll have many opportunities to learn from each other and become better airlines for our mutual customers, employees, investors, and communities as we fly forward together.”

Featured image: The Delta Air Lines and Riyadh Air partnership includes enhanced connectivity through interline and codeshare agreements. Credit: Delta Air Lines

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto is an award-winning journalist with wide-ranging Middle East and Asia experience in the tech, aerospace, defence, luxury watchmaking, business, automotive, and fashion verticals. He is passionate about conserving endangered native wildlife globally. Arnold enjoys 4x4 off-roading, camping and exploring global destinations off the beaten track.
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