Saudia has signed a financing agreement with six local banks worth $3 billion, making it the largest deal in Saudi Arabia’s aviation sector history. The agreement seeks to fund the corporation’s needs until mid-2024, as part of funding a portion of the previously announced deals to buy 73 aircraft from Airbus and Boeing, including 20 A321neo, 15 A321XLR, and 8 787-10 aircraft for Saudi Arabian Airlines and 30 A320neo aircraft for Flyadeal. Saudia said the deal is part of a pledge to encourage tourism and the Hajj and Umrah sectors, in line with Saudi Vision 2030 goals of attracting 100 million visitors and 30 million Umrah performers annually.
Director-General View About Saudia’s Deal
In a statement, Ibrahim bin Abdulrahman Al-Omar, Director-General of Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation, said; “This financing agreement demonstrates our resilience as well as our determination to capture opportunities in securing competitive funding to enable our fleet expansion with a range of new and modern aircraft that will enable us to meet the national aviation requirements in the years to come.”
Saudia’s aircraft order book, like that of many other carriers, can be a moving feast. Operating an aging fleet has long been a problem for the airline. Steps have been taken in recent years to modernize the fleet. Saudia told local media in February that the airline was now upgrading its fleet every five years.
“Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation’s fleet expansion will boost tourism and its allied sectors, generate substantial employment opportunities, significantly improve air connectivity, and enhance the flow of foreign investments,” Ibrahim bin Abdulrahman Al-Omar said this week.
According to the online database Planespotters.net, Saudi Arabia has a fleet of 158 aircraft. 117 of them are currently serving in the military. Saudia operates a diverse fleet of aircraft, ranging from Airbus narrowbodies to Boeing 777-300s and even 747-400s for Hajj flights.