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 Saudia buys 105 planes from Airbus in largest-ever deal

Saudia, the flag carrier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, purchased specifically the A320neo and A321neo models of Airbus aircraft…repors Asian Lite News

The Future Aviation Forum started in Riyadh with Minister of Transport and Logistics Services and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) Eng. Saleh Al-Jasser inaugurating the three-day event.

The first day of the forum witnessed the announcement of the largest aircraft purchase deal globally, by Saudia, which bought 105 aircraft from Airbus, specifically the A320neo and A321neo models, to expand and modernise its fleet and enhance air connectivity with countries worldwide.

The forum will showcase investment opportunities in the Kingdom’s aviation sector with a value of some $100 billion. It is expected to witness the signing of more than 70 agreements and deals worth some $12 billion, with announcements of several agreements with major global companies during the event.

 The forum, organised by GACA, brings together over 30 government ministers, 77 heads of civil aviation authorities and of international air carriers. More than 5,000 aviation industry experts and leaders from over 120 countries are also participating.

 In his opening address, Al-Jasser highlighted Saudi Arabia’s “major and unprecedented renaissance” in various sectors, driven by its wise leadership, and emphasized the “promising opportunities” for both domestic and international investors in the Kingdom’s aviation and air transport industries.

 “This forum, in its third edition, embodies the Kingdom’s commitment to supporting the global aviation industry,” he said, stressing that the activities, agreements, and deals at the forum will be instrumental in “strengthening efforts to meet new challenges” in the aviation sector.

 Al-Jasser said the event will focus on key areas for the future of aviation: sustainability, innovation and technology, expanding business opportunities, and investing in human capital.

 He highlighted a string of achievements in the Kingdom’s civil aviation sector in the past two years, which directly align with the National Transport and Logistics Strategy (NTLS), and the Kingdom’s significant leap in global recognition. Saudi Arabia climbed to the 13th place in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Air Connectivity Index.

 The number of passengers also saw a remarkable surge. In 2023, the sector counted a record-breaking 111 million passengers, a 26% increase compared to 2022, which surpassed pre-pandemic levels.

 The government announced new economic policies specifically designed for the civil aviation sector, he said. These policies encompass regulations for airports, ground services, air freight, and air transport services.

 Al-Jasser also pointed to the establishment of Riyadh Air, whose goal is to connect Riyadh with over 100 international destinations, and the master plan for the King Salman International Airport project in Riyadh, which will increase the airport’s capacity to accommodate 100 million passengers by 2030.

 President of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council Salvatore Sciacchitano highlighted the significant role of the aviation sector in supporting economic growth and achieving sustainable development.

 Sciacchitano praised Saudi Arabia for hosting the third edition of the Future Aviation Forum, saying that the Kingdom is sending a clear message to the international aviation community that it genuinely focuses on the future and on enhancing global connectivity, a central theme of discussion in the coming days, along with setting aviation policies that foster cooperation and partnerships, develop skills and capabilities, and commit to sustainability and leveraging technologies.

 He added that these are crucial to enhancing global connectivity, and support the economic and social development of countries.

 GACA President Abdulaziz Al-Duailej reviewed in the event’s first session the significant challenges and transformations the sector is witnessing globally, achievements, and the growth in the number of passengers, flights, and air cargo in the Saudi civil aviation sector. He also highlighted the role of the aviation strategy in supporting sustainable growth.

 The Future Aviation Forum and the accompanying exhibition will be held over three days; the 120 speakers at the event will share their expertise in the most prominent issues facing the global aviation sector today, which include growth and investment, airports and air connectivity, supply chain management and resilience, air cargo and logistics, air traffic and the future of aviation, technology, digital transformation and safety, human capital, and sustainability.

 Several events will accompany the forum this week.

FAF 2024: 47 deals worth $19b on Day 1


The first day of the Future Aviation Forum 2024 witnessed the announcement of 47 memoranda of understanding (MoUs), agreements, and deals worth $19 billion.

 These included aviation services, aircraft purchase orders, cargo and logistics services, advanced air navigation, human resources development, and information technology, in addition to agreements related to maintenance, repair, and renovation.

 The third annual forum is being held with the participation of over 30 ministers, 77 leaders of civil aviation authorities, CEOs of airlines worldwide, 5,000 aviation industry experts, and leaders from more than 120 countries.

 The forum discusses issues related to growth, investment, airports, air connectivity, supply-chain management, resilience, human capital, and sustainability.

 On the first day of the forum, the GACA signed multiple aviation services agreements with Mozambique, Eswatini, Cambodia, and Brunei Darussalam.

 Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) entered a deal with Airbus to purchase 105 aircraft of the A320-Neo and A321-Neo models to expand and modernize its fleet, enhancing global air connectivity with various countries.

 During the forum, the GACA also launched the first edition of the Kingdom’s aviation sector report, which highlighted the civil aviation sector’s contribution to the Kingdom’s economy, amounting to $53 billion and providing 958,000 jobs across various regions.

 The GACA also issued a roadmap for general aviation, aiming to develop the business aviation and private aircraft sector in the Kingdom, with the goal of increasing its size tenfold by 2030. This plan involves allocating six airports for general aviation and 9 lounges in commercial airports, with an expected contribution of 35,000 new jobs.

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