“We are building the brand from a blank sheet of paper”

As a start-up airline in Saudi Arabia, Riyadh Air has no legacy to confine it, writes Campaign’s Justin Harper

Riyadh Air is the new kid on the airline block, and due to take off in mid 2025.

Its dual livery announcement was one of the most talked about topics in the aviation industry last year, with its first livery unveiled at the Paris Air Show in June, followed by the second at the Dubai Airshow in November.

“This was a real statement of intent from us and has signalled that our aircrafts have become instantly recognisable before their take to the skies in mid-2025,” said Osama Alnuaiser, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Communications at Riyadh Air.

“It’s already been a big achievement for us to have such great brand recognition in such a short space of time.

“Let’s not forget that Riyadh Air is a start-up airline and so we are building the brand from a blank sheet of paper, and we don’t have years of legacy, history, and brand affinity like other airlines do,” he told Campaign Middle East editor Justin Harper.

Digitally native

Riyadh Air is using this freedom to its advantage, shaping its business in the way it wants, and reshaping the aviation industry by being forward-thinking and digitally native. A strategy which not many other airlines can do.

Riyadh Air is the main sponsor of Atletico Madrid football club.

“Having said that, competition is strong in the industry, especially in the Middle East where things are booming right now, so we will keep Riyadh Air at the front and centre of people’s minds, right up until our maiden flight next year and hopefully well beyond that as well.”

Branding, football and uniforms

For Riyadh Air it is important that its cabin crew uniforms are a genuine reflection of Saudi Arabia, so it has begun working with world-renowned Saudi designer Ashi.

“He appreciates what it means to the Kingdom and as a Saudi native, he understands exactly what we’re looking for. We’re bringing warm, authentic Saudi Arabian hospitality to our guests, so it made sense for us to partner with someone who can represent that with his designs.

“We have an obsession to detail and that goes for everything we have created from our logo to our colour scheme, and from our digital experiences to our uniforms.”

The new airline is exploring a range of sponsorship opportunities, and has already signed a multi-year deal with Atletico Madrid, one of the biggest football clubs in the world as the main sponsor.

There will be a new kit launch ahead of the new La Liga season in August.

“We are very excited to be a part of that. Sport is unique in bringing people together across the world regardless of age, gender, culture and geography – so is a natural place for our brand partnerships.” Game on.