As the world begins to move towards the post-pandemic era, economic recovery and resilience will be of prime importance. This is particularly true for the aviation industry, which was heavily affected by the pandemic.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recognizes this and has developed the Saudi Aviation Strategy as part of the Saudi Vision 2030. This ambitious program seeks to increase the diversity and sustainability of the Saudi economy, allowing the country to benefit from its location and become a key driver of international trade.
So what is the Saudi Arabia Aviation Strategy and what impact will it have on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the aviation sector, and the region as a whole?
The SAS (Saudi Aviation Strategy) will see the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) emerge as the preeminent aviation hub in the Middle East and a global leader in the aviation industry.
The strategy aims to raise the standard of civil aviation in the Kingdom, both at the regional and international level. It will create an environment for investment which will enable the Saudi aviation industry to be seen as a pioneer throughout the world.
Over $100 billion will be invested in the aviation sector by 2030, with the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation planning to build two new major airports at Riyadh and Jeddah. Each of these will handle 100 million passengers per year while existing airports will also receive investment to create a total capacity of 330 million passengers per year by 2030.
The strategy will result in more than three million new direct and indirect aviation jobs in Saudi Arabia. The aviation sector is also expected to contribute over $75 billion to GDP by 2030, an increase of over 200% from the current figure.
The privatization of airports within Saudi Arabia will facilitate development to improve operational efficiency and raise passenger standards. The capacity for air freight will increase by over 500% to 4.5 million tons per year by 2030, combined with an increase in warehouse capacity to 6 million tons. Globally competitive incentives will also make the Kingdom a more attractive option for leading logistics providers and multinational corporations.
The tourism sector will also benefit, as Saudi Arabia becomes an attractive destination for passengers from over 250 destinations in line with the Kingdom’s Tourism Strategy. International carriers will be attracted by globally competitive pricing and regulatory frameworks, passenger safety standards will be improved and environmental sustainability will also be promoted.
The Saudi Aviation Strategy will unlock the Kingdom’s potential as a global destination for tourism, business travel, and global logistics. Saudi Arabia is expected to become the world’s fifth-largest connecting passenger hub and the largest cargo hub in the region.
The number of foreign airlines currently serving the Kingdom’s airports is expected to increase from the current level of 120, as new routes are opened and incentives are developed. A network of 29 airports, led by two global hub airports at Riyadh and Jeddah, and a second passenger carrier focusing on leisure and business travelers will attract passengers, businesses, and investment to the Kingdom.
This ambitious aviation strategy will benefit aviation companies in Saudi Arabia by raising the standard of passenger services and increasing the capacity for air freight. The Saudi Aviation Strategy will also encourage Foreign Direct Investment and significantly increase the GDP of Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Aviation Strategy and the Saudi Vision 2030 goals represent an ambitious and forward-thinking movement towards repositioning the Kingdom as a global destination and a major player in the regional and global aviation sector.
Saudi Arabia has the vision, ambition, and resources to make the Saudi Aviation Strategy a reality and shape the evolution of the aviation sector.