Saudi Arabia will need 8,800 pilots and 11,700 aviation technicians by 2024 to meet the industry’s growing demand, said Bander Khaldi, managing director of the kingdom’s National Aviation Academy, at the Middle East and North Africa Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) conference in Jeddah.
The remarks were made based off the attrition replacement and fleet growth.
Khaldi’s presentation focused on the development plans for the academy and how it will meet the country’s needs.
Saudi Arabia’s aviation industry is seeing tremendous growth as the country moves towards Vision 2030 and aims to diversify the economy.
According to the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), the country record 8 percent growth in 2017 to reach 91.8 million people and are expected to reach 100 million in 2018.
Now, five airlines serve the domestic market, compared to two airlines two years ago.
“Intensifying competition has led to lower fares, simulating demand and leading to faster growth, although overcapacity is a potential concern,” the Centre for Aviation (CAPA) said in a recent report.
The biggest airline in Saudi Arabia, Saudia, has focused on growing their international market base and has seen growth of 14 per cent in 2017 and 12 per cent in the first half of 2018. Saudia plan to continue to grow their fleet and move into a new terminal in Jeddah.
They plan to grow their fleet to 200 aircrafts by the end of 2020, from 150 aircrafts at present.
The Saudi government have approved changes and developments to existing airports and for new ones to be constructed.
There are currently 26 airports in Saudi Arabia delivering commercial services, with Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Madinah handling over five million passengers each in 2017.
The expansion plans include development in the airports of Abha, Al Ahsa, Al Qassim, Arar, Hail and Jizan, as well as new terminals at the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. There are also plans to build new airports in Al-Qunfudah, Farasan Island and Taif, Riyadh North and Riyadh South.