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Future Aviation Forum 2024 attracts historic investments within 2 days

Future Aviation Forum 2024 attracts historic investments within 2 days
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Riyadh – Mubasher: The third edition of the Future Aviation Forum has witnessed the signing of several agreements on the first two days of the event, which had nearly 5,000 delegates from over 100 countries to elevate global connectivity.

On top of the big announcements made at the forum was the $19 billion worth of the Saudia Airlines agreement to purchase aircraft in a deal considered the largest in Saudi Arabia’s aviation history.

Meanwhile, the second day of the forum, which launched in the Saudi capital on 20 May 2024, witnessed the signing of 102 memoranda of understanding (MoUs), agreements, and deals at a value surpassing SAR 75 billion, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

During his opening speech, Saleh bin Nasser Al Jasser, Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistics, said: "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.”

Future Aviation Forum 2024 is organised by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), which launched two ground-breaking reports on the role aviation plays in the economic development of Saudi Arabia. The kingdom’s aviation sector made $53 billion contribution to the national economy and supported nearly 958,000 jobs across the country.

To develop the business jet and private industry in Saudi Arabia, GACA also released its General Aviation Roadmap which expects the sector to contribute approximately $2 billion to the GDP and create 35,000 new jobs by 2030 with investments in six dedicated general aviation airports and other projects.

On the first day of the forum, GACA entered deals to boost the aviation sector with countries like Mozambique, Eswatini, Cambodia, and Brunei Darussalam. The agreements were endorsed on the second day with other deals for air transport services with countries such as Kiribati, Grenada, Malawi, Romania, Belize, and Kiribati, in addition to Sao Tome and Principe, Lithuania, El Salvador, Albania, and Uzbekistan.

Abdulaziz Al Duailej, President of Saudi Arabia’s 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.”

Al Duailej noted: “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."

Meanwhile, Salvatore Sciacchitano, President of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council, said: “Saudi Arabia is sending a loud and clear message to the international aviation community that it is a country focused on the future.”

From his side, Director General of Saudia Group, Ibrahim Al Omar, commented on the historic deal with Airbus by saying: “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.”

More than 30 ministers, 77 leaders of civil aviation authorities, CEOs of airlines worldwide, and 7,000 aviation industry experts and leaders are taking part in the three-day event, which concludes on 22 May.

GACA’s Al Duailej noted that the outcomes of the forum have exceeded all expectations, stating: “Over the first and second days, agreements, deals, and partnerships were established that will work towards enhancing the global aviation connectivity. This underscores the international confidence in the Saudi civil aviation system and its capability to take on a leading role in this pivotal sector.”

On the sidelines of the forum, Mubasher had an interview with the Chief Commercial Officer at Riyadh Air, Vincent Coste, who unveiled the airline company’s plans for 2025-2030.