Riyadh Air might be more than a year away before operating its first commercial revenue flight (at the earliest), but the Saudi government-bankrolled airline has already revealed a second aircraft livery in what it describes as an ‘iconic iridescent shade’.
Back in June, Riyadh Air unveiled its first livery painted on a borrowed Boeing 787 Dreamliner, of which the airline will take delivery of as many as 72. The livery was bold and very blue, with shades of blue, purple and lavender swathed across the entire fuselage and tail.
While the livery was certainly eye-catching, it raised an interesting question… how would an aircraft painted in such dark colors withstand the extreme heat of Saudi Arabian summer, where daytime temperatures can easily top 43°C (109 Fahrenheit)?
Modern aircraft paints might be more lightweight and better able to withstand hot temperatures, but such a bold livery could still prove troublesome and increase operating costs.
The question seems to have been answered with Riyadh Air’s second livery, revealed on social media a day before the biennial Dubai Air Show gets underway on Monday – an event where Riyadh Air is expected to announce a big multi-billion-dollar single-aisle aircraft order.
The new livery isn’t much different to the one unveiled in June, except for one big difference… the fuselage is no longer swathed in dark blue and instead sports an almost white color that will help reflect the heat during the intense Saudi summer.
Riyadh Air says it doesn’t intend to go head to head with regional competitors like Emirates and Qatar Airways, and instead of targeting transit passengers, the airline plans to open up to 100 international routes with the primary aim of bringing point-to-point traffic to and from Saudi Arabia.
Funded by the deep pockets of Saudi’s sovereign wealth fund, Riyadh Air is promising a super luxe experience, although details of exactly what this will look like are yet to be revealed.
Earlier this year, the airline acquired the two-letter ‘RX’ designator. Riyadh Air said it chose the letter X to demonstrate its “digital, innovative and state-of-the-art technologies for seamless guest experiences”.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.