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Homechevron_rightMiddle Eastchevron_rightSaudi Arabiachevron_rightSaudia Group signs...

Saudia Group signs historic deal for 105 Airbus planes

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Saudi Arabia's Saudia Group has announced a major acquisition of 105 Airbus aircraft, marking the largest aircraft deal in the nation's history.

This substantial purchase includes 54 A321neo planes for Saudia airline and 12 A320neo and 39 A321neo aircraft for its budget subsidiary, flyadeal.

"This landmark agreement encompasses 105 confirmed aircraft and marks a significant moment not only for the Saudi aviation industry but also for the wider MENA region," Saudia Group stated. The purchase, hailed as "the largest aircraft deal in Saudi aviation history," reflects Saudi Arabia's ongoing investment in its aviation sector, following the launch of new carrier Riyadh Air over a year ago.

Additionally, Saudi authorities have revealed plans for a new airport in Riyadh designed to handle 120 million passengers annually. Before this new deal, Saudia's fleet consisted of 144 aircraft, while flyadeal operated 32 planes.

Saleh Eid, vice president of fleet management and agreements, indicated that the delivery of the new aircraft will begin in 2026 and continue until 2032. However, he did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.

Jeddah-based Saudia, also known as Saudi Arabian Airlines, has a long history dating back to 1945 when it received its first jet, a gift from US President Franklin Roosevelt. The state-owned airline is anticipated to focus more on operations from Jeddah as Riyadh Air prepares to commence flights next year.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman views aviation as integral to his "Vision 2030" reform agenda, aimed at transforming the oil-dependent economy. The goal is to more than triple annual passenger traffic to 330 million by the end of the decade.

Vision 2030 "motivated our decision to secure this significant deal, which will create jobs, increase local content, and contribute to the national economy," said Saudia Group director general Ibrahim Al-Omar.

Last year, Saudia announced an agreement to purchase 39 Dreamliner planes from Boeing, with options for 10 additional aircraft. Similarly, Riyadh Air, launched in March 2023, confirmed a deal to buy 39 Boeing Dreamliners, with options for 33 more jets.

Saudi Arabia is also introducing NEOM Airlines, which will be based in the upcoming megacity NEOM.

The Saudi aviation sector is entering an already competitive Gulf market. Neighboring Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, is home to Emirates, the Middle East's largest airline, and operates the world's busiest airport for international passengers. Qatar is also expanding its capacity, with Hamad International Airport expected to accommodate 70 million passengers annually, and Qatar Airways is increasing its routes.

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TAGS:Saudia GroupAirbus PlanesSaudi Arabia Airport
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