Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Turkish Airlines, the flag carrier of Türkiye, and Riyadh Air, the second flag carrier for Saudia Arabia, have signed a strategic cooperation memorandum of understanding, launching a codeshare partnership and several other future benefits. While this agreement won’t impact the majority of flyers, it’s still worth noting if your travels take you to or from the Middle East.
New MoU in the Middle East
Details behind this new partnership are actually rather vague, though somewhat for a good reason. Riyadh Air, based in Riyadh, Saudia Arabia, hasn’t actually commenced operations and isn’t anticipated to do so until 2025. For now, the partnership is rather generic, though there are a few specific benefits:
- Loyalty program members of either airline will be able to earn and redeem miles on either airline.
- There will be some sort of codeshare agreement on flights, though it’s unknown how many flights.
The announcement mentions a “broader loyalty agreement.” Based on the partnerships with other airlines, this might include things like reciprocal lounge access, priority check-in and security access, complimentary checked bags, and preferred seat access.
One of the primary motivations behind the memorandum of understanding is cooperation on routes and networks. Presumably, Turkish believes Riyadh’s network will be of value to them, even though Turkish operates the largest global network of any international carrier.
Turkish Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, and there’s no mention of Riyadh Air wanting to join, though even if the airline did, it would still be several years away as planes aren’t even flying yet.
There have been no specifics regarding the timing and access to benefits, so for now, this would be considered just aspirational until Riyadh Air finally gets off the ground.Hot Tip:
Riyadh Air has an order for 39 Boeing 787 aircraft, so the airline will certainly not be small by any means and will have a prominent route network in the Middle East and beyond.
Stay tuned for more details on this memorandum of understanding and the benefits both airlines will launch. Riyadh Air will fly its first plane in 2025, so you won’t see much substantive cooperation until then.
Featured Image Credit: Daniel Ross
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