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Saudi Arabia to reveal roadmap to turn aviation sector into $2bn industry

 An ambitious plan outlining Saudi Arabia's vision to expand its aviation sector tenfold into a $2 billion industry will be unveiled during a special event in May.

The plan encompasses the business jet segment, encompassing charter, private, and corporate aircraft, and aims to bolster Saudi Arabia's emergence as a global high-value enterprise and tourist destination.

The specifics of the plan will be disclosed at the 2024 Future Aviation Forum, bringing together 5,000 leaders, including private investors, operators, and service providers, scheduled to take place in Riyadh from May 20 to 22.

This initiative comes after Saudi Arabia revised its 2030 tourism target upwards from 100 million to 150 million visitors in October 2023.

The forum, to be hosted by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), will be led by the organization's President, Abdulaziz-Al Duailej, who stated: "General aviation is crucial to expanding high-value sectors of the Saudi economy, including tourism, business, and entertainment events."

"The General Aviation roadmap will accelerate growth within the Kingdom's aviation sector, revamping infrastructure and regulations while concurrently developing, promoting, and enhancing general aviation services in the market."

"GACA eagerly anticipates hosting general aviation investors, operators, and service providers at the Future Aviation Forum in May, where we will introduce this ambitious plan to global audiences."

The roadmap aims to support private aviation aircraft owners, lessors, and investors, along with operators and service providers, through coordinated infrastructure investment and regulatory simplification.

This announcement follows GACA's removal of "empty-leg restrictions" and simplification of economic license requirements for operators and investors in October 2023, aimed at boosting the general aviation sector.

FAF 2024 will see aviation leaders from over 100 countries, including ministers, regulators, manufacturers, airlines, and airports, gathering in Riyadh.

Already announced is Saudi Arabia's unveiling of more than $100 billion in investment opportunities to enable its ambitious Saudi Aviation Strategy.

The forum's investment showcase will spotlight projects and incentives, including airports, airlines, ground services, cargo, and logistics.

Of the $100 billion in investment opportunities, airports will account for over $50 billion, new aircraft orders around $40 billion, with the remaining $10 billion earmarked for other projects, including $5 billion in special logistics areas around the main airports in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam.

The 2022 edition of the forum saw the signing of more than 50 agreements and $2.7 billion in deals, with the upcoming event expected to feature commercial announcements, alongside the roadmap and specialized general aviation panel sessions.

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