LONDON – Boeing’s managing director of commercial marketing for the Middle East, Africa, Russia and Central Asia regions said this week that Saudi Arabia could become a key player in air travel growth by 2030.
Alongside the UAE and Qatar, Saudi Arabia is starting to develop its aviation sector. As part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, there are projects and sub-projects that outline plans to promote tourism in the region.
The aforementioned Boeing executive director of commercial marketing, Randy Heisey, said this about the Kingdom’s vision and the consequent need for more aircraft.
“If they are able to deliver Vision 2030, they can be a key player in growth here.”
Projects like the Red Sea Project, AMAALA and Soudah Development are all designed to showcase the country’s greatest assets. From luxurious mountain developments to sustainable tourism destinations, these are all part of the kingdom’s efforts to boost tourism.
A by-product of these projects will undoubtedly mean the need for more aircraft to transport passengers in and out of the country. Asked if Boeing and Saudi Arabia are in talks on an aircraft deal, Mr Heisey said:
“We are committed to winning all good deals, including this entity, so we look forward to the ongoing discussions with all airlines in the region. I can tell you that our goal is to demonstrate the value proposition and versatility of Boeing products to all airlines, including new airlines.”
Currently, the Saudi aviation strategy aims to triple passenger traffic to 330 million by 2030. These include launching a new national airline and increasing the number of destinations available to travelers from 99 to 250.
$100 billion is available from both the public investment fund and the private sector to support these increases.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting geopolitical uncertainty slightly dented last year’s forecast that Middle Eastern airlines would need 2,980 aircraft over the next 20 years.
Worth $765 billion, these aircraft will serve commerce and tourism alike, replacing aging aircraft with newer, more efficient models that support the quest to become carbon neutral by 2060.
Looking at the need for specific aircraft types, the requirements for single aisle variants will more than double to up to 1650 to enable travel between regional and international destinations.
Unsurprisingly, demand for MPVs will not increase at the same pace. However, demand for aircraft will be strong as the Middle East is the region with the highest demand for larger jets.
Thanks to Emirates and its expansion, 43 percent of the planes in the Middle East are widebody
During this period, not only passenger air traffic will increase. The Middle East is home to two of the largest freight companies by tonnage.
Boeing forecasts that demand for cargo planes in the region will reach 170 by 2041. If it hits that number, it will more than double the region’s cargo plane fleet compared to pre-pandemic numbers.