Saudia Group, based in Saudi Arabia, has revealed plans to purchase 105 Airbus planes, making it the country's largest aircraft deal to date. The acquisition includes 54 A321neo aircraft for Saudia airline and 12 A320neo along with 39 A321neo planes for its budget offshoot, flyadeal.

The deal, valued at $19 billion, was announced at the Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh, marking a significant moment for the Saudi aviation industry and the wider MENA region.

This purchase, described as the largest in Saudi aviation history, follows the unveiling of new carrier Riyadh Air over a year ago. Saudi authorities have also announced expansive developments, including a new airport in Riyadh with a capacity of 120 million passengers annually, and significant expansion plans for Jeddah airport, which witnessed 43 million passengers in 2023.

The scheduled deliveries of the ordered planes are set to commence in 2026 and conclude by 2032. The Saudi Crown Prince's 'Vision 2030' initiative aims to revolutionize the economy by boosting annual traffic to 330 million passengers by the end of the decade, highlighting the significance of aviation as a key component in this reform agenda and its contribution to the national economy.

Aviation is reported to have contributed $20 billion to the Saudi economy in 2023, supporting 241,000 jobs, with an additional estimated 717,000 jobs in the tourism sector. The CEO of flyadeal emphasized the company's commitment to supporting the growing market, with plans to expand internationally in the coming years.

Furthermore, flyadeal's competitor, Riyadh Air, is expected to start operating in 2025, with ambitious plans to open approximately 10 destinations by the end of the year and more than 100 by the end of the decade.

Saudi Arabia's entrance into the aviation market is seen as a significant development, with new initiatives such as NEOM Airlines and the drive to explore the untapped potential of the country's market, which has only recently begun to open up over the past few years.