Riyadh Air, Turkish Airlines Sign Cooperation Agreement

Turkish Airlines Chief Investment and Technology Officer Levent Konukcu and Riyadh Air CEO Tony Douglas

Turkish Airlines' Levent Konukcu and Riyadh Air CEO Tony Douglas.

Credit: Riyadh Air

Saudi Arabian startup Riyadh Air has provisionally agreed to enter a strategic cooperation with Turkish Airlines that will include a codeshare and interline partnership.

The airlines say the memorandum of understanding will cover routes between Saudi Arabia and Türkiye, as well as points beyond their respective hubs in Riyadh and Istanbul. The cooperation will come into effect once Riyadh Air launches operations, which is slated to be mid-2025.

The agreement, signed by Riyadh Air CEO Tony Douglas and Turkish Airlines' Levent Konukcu, the flag-carrier's chief investment and technology officer, also covers each airline's loyalty programs. Additionally, the airlines say they are “exploring opportunities to develop a broader loyalty agreement covering both global networks.”

“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,” Douglas says.

Riyadh Air earlier this year committed to 39 Boeing 787-9s and hopes to have a global network of 100 destinations by the end of the decade. Speaking to Aviation Week in November, CCO Vincent Coste said the airline was seeking to “establish strong relationships on other continents” and aims to build a "virtual network" with partner airlines.

The carrier has already signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudia regarding strategic cooperation. The deal includes a comprehensive interline and codesharing agreement on their networks. The scope of the arrangement also includes the frequent flyer programs.

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.