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Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh Sees Over 100 Agreements worth over $20 Billion
Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh Sees Over 100 Agreements worth over $20 Billion

The Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh saw over $20 Billion worth of deals agreed to boost the growing avaiation sector in Saudi Arabia.

Major agreements included Saudia Group‘s  $19 billion purchase of 105 Airbus A320neo and A321neo planes.

Aramco’s acquisition of two Bombardier Challenger 3500 business jets and NEOM‘s collaboration with Saudia Technic on aircraft maintenance. 

The event, attracted global aviation leaders, over 30 government ministers and CEO’s of global airlines highlighting Saudi Arabia’s growing influence in aviation sector

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Global Aviation Leaders Gathering

The third edition of the Future Aviation Forum, a pioneering event organized by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) in Riyadh in The King Abdul Aziz International Convention Centre located next to The Ritz-Carlton Riyadh Hotel, concluded on May 22nd, surpassing all expectations. 

Held under the esteemed patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, this landmark forum welcomed over 8,500 experts.

This landmark forum also welcomed leaders from the global aviation industry, including 31 ministers and 77 heads of civil aviation authorities representing 130 nations.

“Elevating Global Connectivity” Themed Forum

Image Credit Future Aviation Forum 2024

The three-day event, centered around the theme “Elevating Global Connectivity,” was a platform for fostering collaboration, innovation, and growth within the aviation sector. 

With 26 exhibitors showcasing their offerings, the forum facilitated extensive networking opportunities and paved the way for groundbreaking partnerships.

Major Aviation Agreements Signed

Image Credit Future Aviation Forum 2024

A staggering 102 memoranda of understanding (MoUs), agreements, and deals were signed throughout the forum, collectively valued at an impressive SAR 75 billion (approximately $20 billion). 

These agreements span various aviation domains, including aviation services, aircraft procurement, cargo and logistics services, advanced air mobility, human resources development, information technology, maintenance, repair, and overhaul.

Furthermore, investment empowerment opportunities in Saudi Arabia’s aviation sector were valued at a remarkable $100 billion, underscoring the Kingdom’s commitment to driving growth and development within this pivotal industry.

Saudia Group’s Largest Ever Aircraft Deal

Image Credit AIRBUS

The Future Aviation Forum 2024 catalyzed fostering transformative collaborations across the global aviation landscape. 

Prominent among these was the historic $19 billion deal between the Saudia Group and Airbus to acquire 105 A320neo family aircraft, marking the largest aircraft deal with the European firm in the Kingdom’s history. 

Image Credit Flyadeal

These state-of-the-art aircraft will be distributed between Saudia, the national carrier, and flyadeal, the group’s low-cost subsidiary, further enhancing the Kingdom’s air connectivity with nations worldwide.

Saudi Aramco Agreement with Bombardier

Image Credit Bombardier

Moreover, Saudi Aramco, the global energy giant, inked a deal with Bombardier to purchase two super mid-sized Challenger 3500 business jet aircraft, slated for delivery in 2025 and 2026.

This strategic move underscores Aramco’s commitment to bolstering its aviation capabilities and supporting the Kingdom’s burgeoning aviation sector.

NEOM Collaboration with Saudia Technic 

Image Credit NEOM

The forum also witnessed a series of groundbreaking agreements promoting cutting-edge advancements within the aviation industry. 

Notable among these was the collaboration between NEOM, the $1 trillion visionary city of the future, and Saudia Technic. 

Image Credit Future Aviation Forum 2024

This collaboration will pave the way for future discussions and cooperation in the realms of aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) for heavy-lift Uncrewed Air Systems (UAS) and passenger electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

Saudi Academy of Civil Aviation Deal

Image Credit BAE Systems

Additionally, BAE Systems, a renowned defense and aerospace company, signed a deal with the Saudi Academy of Civil Aviation to exchange expertise in aviation science training, further strengthening the Kingdom’s human capital development initiatives within the sector.

Domestic and International Connectivity

Recognizing the significance of fostering domestic capabilities and enhancing international connectivity, the forum witnessed a series of strategic agreements. 

Matarat Holding Co. and the Local Content and Government Procurement Authority agreed to collaborate to enhance opportunities and potential for developing and advancing local content within the aviation sector.

Dammam Airport Co. Contarct

Image Credit King Khalid International Airport

Furthermore, Dammam Airport Co. signed a consulting service contract with Hill International to manage its projects while sealing a cooperation agreement with the Bahrain Airport Co. and a training MoU with the Gulf Aviation Academy. 

These partnerships underscore the Kingdom’s commitment to leveraging international expertise and fostering regional cooperation within the aviation domain.

Expanding Global Air Connectivity

Image Credit Future Aviation Forum 2024

In a move to expand global air connectivity, Saudi Arabia signed air service agreements with numerous countries, including Mozambique, Cambodia, Eswatini, Brunei, Romania, Malawi, Belize, Kiribati, Grenada, Sao Tome and Principe, Lithuania, El Salvador, Albania, and Uzbekistan. 

These agreements pave the way for enhanced air connectivity, facilitating the movement of people and goods while fostering economic and cultural exchange.

The First “State of Aviation” Report

Image Credit Future Aviation Forum 2024

During the forum, GACA unveiled several visionary initiatives to propel the Kingdom’s aviation sector to new heights. 

Notably, the authority launched the inaugural edition of the “State of Aviation” report, highlighting the sector’s remarkable contribution to the Kingdom’s economy, totaling $53 billion and generating 958,000 jobs across various regions.

Image Credit Future Aviation Forum 2024

Furthermore, GACA issued a comprehensive roadmap for general aviation to develop the business aviation and private aircraft sectors in Saudi Arabia. 

This ambitious plan includes increasing the sector’s size tenfold by 2030 by allocating six airports for general aviation and establishing nine lounges in commercial airports, a move expected to create 35,000 new job opportunities.

Other Aviation Events in Riyadh

Image Credit Future Aviation Forum 2024

The Future Aviation Forum 2024 was part of a broader aviation week in the Kingdom, with Riyadh hosting several prominent events concurrently. 

These included the World Annual General Assembly, Conference and Exhibition of the Airports Council International (ACI), the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Facilitation 2024 Global Summit,  and the Seventh Meeting of the Directors General of Civil Aviation-Middle East Region.

Additionally, the Saudi capital hosted the fourth edition of the Saudi Airports Awards Ceremony and the inaugural Security Forum for the Arab Civil Aviation Organization (ACAO), further underscoring the Kingdom’s commitment to fostering collaboration, innovation, and excellence within the aviation sector.

Sessions on Industry Advancement

Image Credit Future Aviation Forum 2024

Throughout the three-day forum, 73 dialogue sessions were held, featuring 300 speakers, including ministers, aviation authority officials, leaders of aviation organizations, and representatives from Saudi and international companies. 

These sessions delved into various topics, ranging from human capabilities and the sector’s future to cooperation mechanisms, civil aviation networks, sustainability, innovation, technology, and business opportunities within the industry.

A Sustainable Aviation Future

Image Credit NEOM

Recognizing the importance of sustainability in the aviation sector, the Future Aviation Forum 2024 dedicated sessions exploring strategies and initiatives to promote environmentally responsible practices. 

Discussions centered around reducing carbon emissions, implementing sustainable technologies, and fostering a collaborative approach to address the environmental challenges faced by the industry.

Human Capital Development

Human capital development emerged as a key focus area during the forum, with sessions dedicated to exploring strategies for nurturing skilled professionals and fostering a talented workforce within the aviation sector. 

Discussions revolved around enhancing training programs, promoting diversity and inclusion, and leveraging cutting-edge technologies to equip the next generation of aviation professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge.

Resilient Aviation Strategies

The forum emphasized fostering resilience and optimizing supply chain management within the aviation industry in an ever-evolving global landscape. 

Sessions explored strategies for mitigating risks, enhancing operational efficiency, and leveraging advanced technologies to streamline logistics and ensure seamless air connectivity.

A Leader in the Aviation Industry

Image Credit Future Aviation Forum 2024

The Future Aviation Forum 2024 in Riyadh proved to be a resounding success, catalyzing international cooperation, facilitating groundbreaking partnerships, and driving innovation within the aviation sector. 

The unprecedented volume of agreements and deals signed during the event underscores Saudi Arabia’s unwavering commitment to propelling its aviation industry to new heights while positioning the Kingdom as a global leader in this pivotal domain.

Saudi Arabia’s Aviation Ventures

Saudia’s Largest Airbus Order

Image Credit AIRBUS

Saudia has revealed its largest ever aircraft deal to date in Saudi Arabian aviation history by agreeing to buy 105 Airbus jets. 

The purchase, announced at the Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh, consists of A320 neo and A321 neo models. 

These planes will be divided between Saudia and its low-cost subsidiary, Flyadeal. This decision is in line with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to boost annual passenger traffic to 330 million and expand connections to 250 global destinations.

Saudia Flying Taxis

Image Credit Lilium

Saudi Arabian Airlines is planning to transform the Hajj travel experience by implementing Flying Taxis to ferry pilgrims from Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport to Makkah hotels during the Hajj and Umrah seasons. 

Saudia, Saudi Arabian Airlines, has committed to acquiring 100 Lilium aircraft, which are electric vertical take-off and landing jets manufactured in Germany. 

These planes provide a solution with minimal carbon emissions and have the capacity to transport four to six passengers over a distance of 250 km. The introduction of this new service aims to cater to high-end guests seeking luxurious travel experiences.

Partnership with Bristow

Image Credit Bristow Group Inc

The Helicopter Company, supported by PIF, has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bristow Arabia Aircraft & Maintenance Services to collaborate on innovative air mobility projects in Saudi Arabia. 

The primary goal of this partnership is to revolutionize the vertical aviation industry, specifically through the implementation of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) technology, and to expand the aviation ecosystem in Saudi Arabia. 

With a fleet of 47 aircraft, the Helicopter Company is the leading commercial helicopter operator in Saudi Arabia, providing services such as Emergency Medical Services, private charters, and tourism.

Saudi’s BIM Ventures Launches SKYNA

Image Credit BIM Ventures

BIM Ventures unveiled SKYNA, a private aviation platform based in Riyadh that specializes in personalized private jet travel.

Through SKYNA, clients can book their desired private aircraft on flexible dates and choose their preferred comfort and hospitality services. 

This launch aligns with the National Strategy for the Aviation Sector, which seeks to boost the yearly passenger count to 330 million, spanning over 250 destinations worldwide.

Flynas and Eve Air Mobility eVTOL Flights

Image Credit Flynas

Flynas and Eve Air Mobility partnered to introduce eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) flights in Riyadh and Jeddah by 2026. 

It was announced that an agreement had been reached between the two companies in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to investigate the potential of eVTOL flights in both cities. 

This initiative aims to bolster Saudi Arabia’s emerging aviation sector and contribute to achieving Vision 2030’s sustainability objectives.

Keep Reading: Saudia Announces Largest Airbus Order For 105 Narrow Body Planes

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