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Saudi Arabia wealth fund in talks to acquire national airline Saudia: Report

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Saudi Arabian. Aircraft to Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport. Fiumicino (Italia), Nov. 11, 2021

Massimo Insabato/Archivio Massimo Insabato/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

Saudi Arabia’s behemoth sovereign wealth fund is in talks to buy the kingdom’s national airline Saudia, Bloomberg reported over the weekend, citing people familiar with the matter.

The reported move for the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which oversees $925 billion in assets, would track with its goals to invest heavily in tourism and transport assets, as it aims to turn Saudi Arabia into a tourist hub and diversify its economy away from oil.

According to the initial report, the acquisition would see the PIF take over the airline’s ownership from the government to increase its efficiency and ability to make profit. It could then either be privatized or merged with Riyadh Air, a separate airline owned by the PIF and launched in March 2023 to compete with other more established Gulf airlines.

Founded in 1945, Saudia has a fleet of 144 aircraft — 93 Airbus planes and 51 made by Boeing — and flies to more than 100 destinations, according to its website.

It is not yet known how the airline would be valued. Talks are said to be in early stages, and could be delayed or axed altogether, Bloomberg reported.

Read the full report here.