As Riyadh Air, the new start-up carrier for Saudi Arabia, seeks to make an additional order, this reflects the sheer size the country wants to grow its aviation infrastructure.
This came following a report from Bloomberg that was released where Boeing is working with the carrier to sell around 150 737 MAX aircraft, with Airbus also supposedly in the mix for some orders too.
In total, it looks like Saudi Arabia is looking to secure around 300-400 narrowbody jets for this new carrier.
Saudi Arabia’s Orders Already…
Saudi Arabia has already placed aircraft orders for both Riyadh Air, but also its current flagship carrier, Saudia.
The new Saudi carrier Riyadh Air will commence operations with an all-Boeing fleet, following an order for 39 Dreamliners with an option for 33 more.
In addition, the Saudi national flag carrier SAUDIA is now set to grow its long-haul fleet with up to 49 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.
The airline has placed an order for 39 of the Boeing wide-body aircraft, with an option for 10 additional aircraft.
Riyadh Air Will Be Larger than Saudia…
Following the revelations from Riyadh Air in Saudi Arabia this week, this could mean that the carrier could become larger than Saudia, which is reflective of how far the country wants to go under the Public Investment Fund (PIF).
With the estimation being around 300-400 aircraft, this would mean that Riyadh Air would have between 372-472 aircraft if all options are exercised in the future.
This is in comparison to data from Planespotters.net, where Saudia has 157 aircraft active in the fleet (As of May 29), with this increasing to 206 once all of the other aircraft have been delivered.
Even so, this means that Saudi Arabia will have an arsenal of around 678 aircraft across its two owned airlines, which will enable substantial route growth from the region.
4th Fastest Growing Aviation Market…
As it stands, Saudi Arabia is currently the world’s 4th fastest-growing aviation market, and this is all in place because of the country’s Saudi 2030 Vision program.
The aim behind this is to diversify the Saudi economy and transform it into a global hub connecting Asia, Europe, and Africa.
The country has put around $100bn worth of allocated investment for aviation in Saudi Arabia in the hope of attracting upwards of 330 million passengers per year across all new and existing airports by the end of this decade.
With the list of airport projects being worked on at the moment within the Kingdom, this is also why the aircraft are going to be needed to sustain this as well.
Overall, it remains clear that whoever Riyadh Air opts for from the narrowbody perspective, we know that the order is going to be substantial as it will be needed to keep up with the rapid expansion in infrastructure.
As we also get closer and closer to the Paris Air Show, this is also the crunch time for the likes of Boeing and Airbus to double down on their deals and secure some additional business onto their backlogs.
But for now, this is going to be an interesting space to watch, that’s for sure.