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$19 billion aircraft order headlines first morning of Future Aviation Forum

Future Aviation Forum kick's off in Riyadh

The Future Aviation Forum kicked off in Riyadh today with around 5,000 delegates from more than 100 countries with the purpose of elevating global connectivity.

The big announcement at the forum came from Saudia Airlines with an agreement to purchase 93 Airbus 321neo’s, and 12 Airbus 320neo’s at a cost $19 billion.

The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) of Saudi Arabia also launched two ground-breaking reports that highlight the crucial role aviation plays in the Kingdom’s economic development.

GACA’s State of Aviation report found the Saudi aviation sector made $53 billion contribution to the Saudi economy and supported around 958,000 jobs across the country.

The regulator also used the forum to release its General Aviation Roadmap to develop Saudi Arabia’s business jet and private industry.

With investments in six dedicated general aviation airports and other projects, the roadmap forecasts the sector will contribute around $2 billion to GDP and create 35,000 new jobs by 2030.

During his opening speech, Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistics, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, underscored the event’s importance as a continuation of the previous edition’s success.

He stated, “Saudi Arabia is undertaking the most significant aviation industry reform of the 21st century, bringing huge opportunities for the private sector and creating thousands of jobs for Saudi Arabia’s people.

“We are bringing together the top leaders and brightest minds from the global aviation sector to collaborate and develop innovative solutions that will drive the sector into the future.”

His Excellency Abdulaziz Al Duailej, President of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said “Saudia’s purchase is a clear demonstration of the strength of the Saudi aviation sector which saw a 26% increase in passengers and a 16% increase in flights in 2023.

“Aviation is a vital enabler of economic growth, trade, and social progress in the Kingdom.

“The State of Aviation report and the release of our General Aviation Roadmap demonstrate the growth and the potential of a world-class aviation ecosystem that supports Saudi Arabia’s strategic goals under Vision 2030.”

In hosting the Future Aviation Forum, Salvatore Sciacchitano, President of the ICAO Council, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) says, “Saudi Arabia is sending a loud and clear message to the international aviation community that it is a country focused on the future.

“Adopting and implementing aviation policies, fostering collaboration and partnerships, developing skills and talent, promoting sustainability and innovation, and leveraging technologies are crucial to enhancing global connectivity and ultimately supporting the social and economic development of our countries.”

H.E. Ibrahim Al-Omar stated: “We are thrilled to unveil this historic deal with Airbus at such a significant event.

“The Future Aviation Forum, organized by GACA, provides the ideal platform to highlight the importance of this agreement, which marks the largest aircraft deal in the history of Saudi aviation.

“This partnership not only highlights our commitment to expanding and modernizing our fleet but also aligns with the ambitious objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.

“It represents a major leap forward to enhancing global connectivity, driving economic growth, and promoting sustainability within the aviation industry.

“We are proud to lead the way in transforming air travel and look forward to the remarkable advancements this deal will bring to our guests and the MENA region.”