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Saudi Group orders $19 billion 105 A320neo family aircraft: KSA history’s largest deal

A Saudi Group has signed a historic order for an additional 105 A320neo family aircraft, making it the largest deal with Airbus in the Kingdom’s history. The $19 billion agreement was unveiled at the Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh by Ibrahim Al-Omar, the group’s director general. The order includes A320neo and A321neo models, to be allocated between Saudi and Flyadeal, the group’s low-cost carrier.

Saudi gropu will receive 54 A321neo aircraft, while Flyadeal will take delivery of 12 A320neo and 39 A321neo aircraft. The first deliveries are scheduled for the first quarter of 2026.

The announcement was made in the presence of Minister of Transport and Logistic Services Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, Saudia Group’s Director General Ibrahim Al-Omar, and Benoît de Saint-Exupéry, Airbus’s Executive Vice President of Sales.

Al-Omar stated: “Saudia has ambitious operational objectives to meet growing demand. We are increasing flights and seat capacity across our 100+ destinations on four continents, with further expansion plans. The progress of Saudi Vision 2030 is drawing more visitors, tourists, entrepreneurs, and pilgrims each year, motivating our decision to secure this significant deal, which will create jobs, increase local content, and boost the national economy.”

He also mentioned that over the next five years, 88 new aircraft would join the fleet, promising a new experience in the business and hospitality classes with renovated guest cabins. The first plane equipped with new seats is set to be ready by the end of 2025.

De Saint-Exupéry highlighted the importance of the new aircraft in supporting Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, enhancing the Kingdom’s aviation capabilities while benefiting from the A320neo Family’s efficiency, superior economics, passenger comfort, and lower fuel-burn and emissions.

Starting in the fourth quarter of 2024, Saudia will introduce fast and high-quality internet services on its flights. The airline will also equip its aircraft with high-resolution, Bluetooth-enabled screens compatible with most smart devices, upgrading both new and existing aircraft.

Minister Al-Jasser added: “This agreement supports the National Transport and Logistics Strategy, enhancing Saudia’s operational performance, increasing flights and seat capacity, and launching new destinations. It aligns with the significant transformation of the aviation sector under Saudi Vision 2030, reaffirming our commitment to providing top-tier services that enhance the travel experience.”

The new aircraft will help Saudi Group achieve its goals of connecting the world with the Kingdom, supporting key pillars of Saudi Vision 2030. This includes increasing passenger capacity to 330 million, expanding destinations to 250 by 2030, attracting 150 million visits, and boosting Umrah pilgrim capacity to 30 million by 2030.

Additionally, the A320 family aircraft are noted for their fuel efficiency, emitting 20 percent less fuel burn and carbon emissions compared to previous-generation aircraft.

This expansion of Saudia’s fleet coincides with the growth of Riyadh Air, the Kingdom’s second flag carrier backed by the Public Investment Fund. Announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in March 2023, Riyadh Air ordered 39 Boeing 787-9 jets last year, with options for 33 more.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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