New Saudi airline to take aim at Emirates

Emirates and other Gulf carriers might soon have a very well-funded new competitor.

Saudi Arabia is planning a new airline, and Reuters sources say it will be modelled on local rivals.

That means carrying international passengers around the world via a hub in the kingdom.

Earlier this week Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman set out plans to make Saudi Arabia the world's fifth-biggest transit hub.

It's part of a plan to create jobs and wean the economy off dependence on oil.

But industry experts say it looks like no easy task.

Emirates reported a record $5.5 billion annual loss last month amid the global travel slump.

Dubai had to step in with billions in state support.

Meanwhile Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad has had to scale back its ambitions after spending big in a bid to rival Emirates.

Startup costs will also be enormous.

But then Saudi Arabia does have deep pockets.

Sources say the country's massive sovereign wealth fund is helping to set up the new airline.

Emirates will be watching very closely.

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