Boeing Predicts Saudi Arabia to Become Big Player in Regional Aviation Space 

Photo Credit: Harrison Rowe/AviationSource

LONDON – Boeing’s Managing Director of commercial marketing for the middle east, Africa, Russia, and Central Asia regions has this week declared that Saudi Arabia could be set to become a major player during air travel growth between now and 2030. 

Alongside the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, Saudi Arabia is beginning on a journey to develop its air transport sector. As part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030’, there are projects and sub-projects that outline plans to boost tourism in the region. 

The aforementioned Managing Director for commercial marketing for Boeing, Randy Heisey, said this of the Kingdom’s vision and the resulting need for more aircraft.

“If they’re able to execute on the Vision 2030, they may be a major player in the growth here.”

Projects such as the Red Sea Project, AMAALA, and Soudah Development are all designed to showcase the country’s greatest strengths. From luxury mountain developments to sustainable tourism destinations, these are all part of the Kingdom’s tourism-boosting efforts.

A byproduct of these projects will undoubtedly mean the need for more aircraft to transport passengers in and out of the country. When asked if Boeing and Saudi Arabia are in talks of an agreement for aircraft, Mr. Heisey said:

“We are eager to win all good business, including that entity, so we look forward to ongoing conversations with all airlines in the region, I can tell you our objective is to demonstrate to all airlines, and new airlines as well, the value proposition and versatility of Boeing products.”

Currently, the Saudi Aviation Strategy wants to triple air passenger traffic to 330 million by 2030. This will involve creating a new flag carrier and increasing the number of destinations available to travelers from 99 to 250.

To be able to support these rises, there is $100 billion available from both the Public Investment Fund and the private sector. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the resulting geopolitical uncertainty, have slightly dented last year’s forecast that sees Middle Eastern airlines requiring 2,980 planes over the next 20 years.

These planes, valued at $765 billion, will serve trade and tourism alike and will be required to replace aging aircraft with newer, more efficient models that support its bid to become net zero on carbon emissions by the year 2060.

When looking at the need for certain types of aircraft, requirements for single-aisle variants will more than double, up to 1650 to accommodate travel between both regional and international destinations.

Unsurprisingly, wide-body demand will not increase at the same rate. However, the requirement for the aircraft will be strong, given that the Middle East is the region with the highest demand for larger jets.

Thanks to the likes of Emirates and their expansion, 43 percent of aircraft in the Middle East are wide-bodies

It won’t just be passenger air travel that increases over this period. The Middle East is home to two of the largest freight carriers when measured on tonnage.

Boeing predicts that the demand for freighters in the area will reach 170 by the year 2041. If it reaches this number, it will over double the region’s freighter fleet when compared to pre-pandemic numbers.

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Jamie Stokes

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