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Delta and Riyadh Air Ink New Partnership

The two carriers are planning an extensive long-term relationship.

Delta Air Lines and Riyadh Air announced a new partnership on July 9, 2024 (Photo: Delta Air Lines)

Delta Air Lines and Saudi Arabian start-up carrier Riyadh Air have announced a new partnership. According to the airlines, the strategic agreement paves the way for increased connectivity and future growth opportunities.

Connecting the United States with Riyadh

The two carriers signed a memorandum of understanding at Delta’s headquarters in Atlanta on Tuesday, with the vision of a long-term multi-faceted relationship. According to the two companies, the partnership will include interline and codeshare connectivity, as well as cooperation in other business aspects like loyalty programs, maintenance, and ground handling. A joint venture between the two airlines is also being planned for the future.

Perhaps most notably, the agreement includes an intent to start Delta service between the United States and the Saudia Arabian capital of Riyadh. There are no U.S. airlines that currently serve Saudia Arabia, although Delta’s fellow SkyTeam member Saudia flies to a handful of U.S. destinations from Riyadh.

“This partnership with Riyadh Air will further Delta’s mission of connecting the world and open an array of new choices, benefits and destinations for our customers traveling to and from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Delta Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian. “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.”

Riyadh Air CEO Tony Douglas and Delta CEO Ed Bastian shake hands during the signing of the two airlines’ new memorandum of understanding on July 9, 2024 (Photo: Delta Air Lines)

Riyadh Air’s Growth Plans

First announced in early 2023, Riyadh Air has been busy preparing for its 2025 launch. The airline has nearly 40 Boeing 787-9s on order, and has signed memorandum of understandings with a number of airlines including China Eastern Airlines and Egyptair. The latest announcement with Delta marks the airline’s first partnership with a U.S. carrier.

“We look forward to enjoying a very warm and productive relationship with Delta Air Lines, one of the largest and most successful airlines in the world. Riyadh Air and Delta Air Lines share common goals and pursue the highest standards in many areas including guest experience, loyalty, and sustainability, built upon great networks and strong connectivity,” said Riyadh Air CEO Tony Douglas.

FlyDubai revealed its new livery on its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner on Sunday. (Photo: Riyadh Air)

Riyadh Air’s first 787 (Photo: Riyadh Air)

Andrew Chen

Author

  • Andrew Chen

    Andrew is a lifelong lover of aviation and travel. He has flown all over the world and is fascinated by the workings of the air travel industry. As a private pilot and glider pilot who has worked with airlines, airports and other industry stakeholders, he is always excited to share his passion for aviation with others. In addition to being a writer, he also hosts Flying Smarter, an educational travel podcast that explores the complex world of air travel to help listeners become better-informed and savvier travelers.

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