Future Aviation Forum Takes Flight in Riyadh

The Future Aviation Forum 2024 has officially kicked off in Riyadh, drawing over 5,000 industry leaders from 120 countries. The event features ministers from over 30 nations, 65 civil aviation authorities, airline executives, airport leaders, and key figures from aircraft manufacturing and investment sectors. The gathering aims to shape the future of civil aviation.

Major Deal Between Saudia and Airbus

A significant highlight was Airbus SE securing an order for 105 narrowbody jets from Saudi Arabia’s flagship carrier, Saudia. The deal, which includes 93 A321neos and 12 A320neos, is the largest in Saudia’s 80-year history and is valued at $19 billion. Deliveries are set to begin in 2026, with about half of the aircraft assigned to Flyadeal, Saudia’s low-cost subsidiary.

Saudi Arabia’s flagship carrier, Saudia, announces its largest aircraft order to date. Photo Credit: Saudia Airlines

This announcement comes as part of Saudi Arabia’s broader strategy to become a global aviation and tourism hub. The country aims to attract 150 million tourists annually by 2030, with 70 million from abroad, contributing to the diversification of its economy.

Significant Investments in the Aviation Sector

Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in its aviation sector, planning over $100 billion in investments by 2030. This includes $50 billion for airport development and $40 billion for purchasing new aircraft. The forum also reported that Saudi Arabia’s international seat capacity growth surpassed global averages by 123%, and the number of passengers grew by 26%, reaching 112 million last year.

The Future Aviation Forum is expected to see over $12 billion in deals, reinforcing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s vision to reshape the local aviation market. Saudia is being repositioned to focus on pilgrimages, while the new airline, Riyadh Air, will cater to tourists. Saudia is also in discussions for acquisition by the Public Investment Fund, which could lead to privatization or a merger with Riyadh Air.

Alexander Mitchell
Alexander Mitchell
Pilot on the B-767, international and overwater operations. Accomplished SIGINT/LLVI operator with five years of diverse experience in strategic and tactical operations. Adept in handling confidential information and situations with discretion. Respected leader, providing purpose, motivation, and direction focused on achieving and exceeding company goals.

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