Saudi’s newest airline Riyadh Air will launch direct flights to Chinese cities in early 2026, a media report said.

The airline, which will start operations in 2025, will launch direct flights connecting Riyadh to major Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and other cities over time, China Daily, an English newspaper, reported.

“We are the largest aviation startup in the past 30 years. As the new national carrier of Saudi Arabia, we plan to connect 110 cities globally within five years of operation,” Tony Douglas, CEO of Riyadh Air, told the newspaper.

Douglas visited China this month to hold discussions with the Civil Aviation Administration of China and various Chinese carriers.

“There is a big demand for business connectivity between China and Saudi Arabia. We have also seen huge leisure travel demand as people have curiosity about Saudi Arabia,” Douglas added.

The Public Investment Fund-owned airline has ordered 72 Boeing B787 widebody aircraft and plans to order more single-aisle planes to expand its fleet.

Riyadh Air has received some 600,000 resumes from applicants globally in the first six months of its launch.

“The resumes come from 142 countries, and China is well-represented. We will need Chinese employees on our teams,” the CEO stated.        

(Editing by Brinda Darasha;