Boeing will have itself an eyecatcher on static display at the Paris Airshow in two weeks’ time when it has a 787-9 there in full livery of Riyadh Air. The Saudi Arabian start-up revealed the purple Dreamliner on Sunday on social media.
AirInsight bumped into CEO Tony Douglas at the IATA AGM in Istanbul. “This is actually the first of two different liveries that we have planned. The other one will be unveiled later and will look very different again. We bring this aircraft to Paris and have planned more news there,” said Douglas. “In fact, although Riyadh Air will not commence services in the next two years, we have planned continuous updates on what will be a whole new experience for our customers.”
In Istanbul, Stan Deal, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes confirmed that the 787-9 is a Boeing-owned aircraft. Planespotters identifies the Dreamliner as Line Number 1128 which has been built for MIAT Mongolia Airlines. The aircraft first flew on May 17 in full MIAT livery with registration N9676N but has now been registered to N5872C. This registration has been used on many different 787s during their test period.
Riyadh Air was launched by Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, on March 12. The new airline is funded by the Public Investment Fund and should be developed into the second national carrier alongside Saudia. The two airlines and a few low-cost carriers should help build Saudi Arabia into a tourist attraction for 100 million visitors each year and carry a combined 300 million passengers. The Saudis poached Tony Douglas from Etihad Airways to lead the new airline.
A few days after its unveiling, PIF announced an order for 39 Boeing 787-9s and 33 options, while Saudia placed an order for 39 787-9s and -10s plus ten options.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News and until July 1 2023 in a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.