The global aviation industry will be heading to Riyadh in the first week of November to explore the untapped growth potential of the airport industry in the Kingdom, which is in the midst of massive expansion in line with the Saudi 2030 Vision, a unique transformative economic and social reform blueprint unveiled in April 2016.
As the largest country on the Arabian Peninsula pushes massively to expand and upgrade airport facilities to serve 330 million air travelers by 2030, the year when 60 per cent of its population will be under the age of 35, Saudi Arabia’s aviation strategy includes the expansion of existing airports and a focus on two large mega hubs in Riyadh and Jeddah, as well as plans to set up a new national carrier.
Earlier this year, the Kingdom relaunched the privatization of its airports to support the diversification of its oil-dominated economy and ownership of 29 airports has already been moved to a new entity to prepare them for the process. The Middle East’s largest aviation market will see the fastest passenger traffic growth in the Middle East until 2040 and has unveiled plans for a US$147 billion expansion of its transport sector. In May 2022, Saudi Arabia unveiled a Harmonizing Air Travel policy that will fuel Vision 2030 and help generate around US$100 billion in aviation sector investment by the end of the decade.
The National Aviation Sector Strategy aims to increase air connectivity to 250 destinations, reaching 330 million passengers, and double air cargo capacity to 4.5 million tonnes. The Kingdom also has plans to launch a new national airline to complement its existing national carriers, Saudia, Flynas and Flyadeal. It will also build a major new international airport in Riyadh, in addition to eight regional airports. The aviation sector, rebounding now after the pandemic, will deliver SR280 billion (US$75 billion) to Saudi Arabia’s Gross Domestic Product by 2030. The Kingdom expects economic growth of 7.6 per cent in 2022 — the fastest in the Arabian Gulf region.
Daksha Patel, Event Director at Niche Ideas, Organisers of the Event, said, “Saudi Airport Exhibition will provide the ideal platform for Saudi airports and stakeholders to meet with global industry suppliers and experts to fulfill the Kingdom’s ambitious aviation expansion programmes. We are pleased with the enthusiastic response we received from international companies to be part of this exhibition and are grateful for the warm welcome we are receiving from Saudi aviation authorities to deliver an outstanding event.”
She added, “Saudi Arabia is one the most exciting aviation markets in the world today, given its focus on sustainability, passenger experience, international collaboration, and the number of new aviation jobs it will create. The participation of the global industry’s most influential players at the two-day event fulfils the market’s need for a platform where officials, investors, manufacturers, suppliers, and purchasers can come together in the Kingdom.”
To be held at the Al Faisaliah Hotel in the Saudi capital city on November 7 and 8, the B2B platform will focus on three key themes – Expansion, Innovation and Collaboration – to help global airport industry players looking to enter or expand in one of the world’s top 5 airport growth markets over the next two decades. Over 100 leading global companies have already confirmed to participate from more than 20 countries, including Goldhofer, SITA, Siemens, CCM Airports, Fraport, ADB Safegate, Egis, TLD, Serco, Swissport, BECHTEL, IHSE and Nuctech. Meanwhile, key Saudi entities supporting the Kingdom’s aviation strategy at the event include Saudi Ground Services, Saudi Air Navigation Services, Seder Group, METCO, PPMDC, Ground Handling Logistics, Nesma United Industries, AQESA, Trans Cities Trading, Hoshan Group and MAFA, amongst others.
The only airports-dedicated event in Saudi Arabia, the exhibition will bring together decision-makers from airport operations, infrastructure, air traffic control, ground handling, security, retail, and investment, who are keen on learning about the latest technologies and innovations from across the world that are shaping the world of airports, cargo, transport and logistics. Participants will have the opportunity to gain valuable insights about the commercial and investment opportunities in the Saudi aviation market from key stakeholders involved in the process.
Co-located with the event, the Future Airport Development and Investment Summit will welcome 500 attendees – including Saudi transport and aviation leaders and global experts and suppliers. The Summit programme includes keynotes and panel discussions covering the role of the aviation industry in supporting Saudi Vision 2030; Aviation Sustainability; Rebuilding the Aviation Industry Post-Covid; Future Airport Planning; Passenger Centric Thinking to Prepare the Airports of Tomorrow; Digital Innovation in Aviation; Developing Robust and Sustainable Air Traffic Management Systems; Airport Security in the Age of Digital Disruption, and Building a Local Aviation Talent Pool to Support Growth.