44 hosted buyers turned the first-ever Saudi Airport Exhibition into the most lucrative B2B platform

Over 150 companies from 50 countries participate

Passenger-centric technology and automation making a sharp cut

Cutting-edge innovation needed to handle 330 million travellers by 2030

Air transport industry to grow to US$931.3 billion in 2023

Saudi aviation sector growing in an ‘unprecedented’ manner

The first-ever B2B exhibition for the airport industry in Saudi Arabia attracted over 44 hosted buyers keen to acquire the most innovative, feature-rich products at 29 international and domestic airports in the largest country by size on the Arabian Peninsula.

Saudi Airport Exhibition that concluded at Al Faisaliah Hotel after a two-day run with a focus on expansion, innovation and collaboration in one of the world’s top 5 airport growth markets. The airports in the Kingdom are working their way to expand and upgrade while serving 330 million travellers by 2030, most by the mega hubs in Riyadh and Jeddah.

As the Middle East’s largest aviation market will see the fastest passenger traffic growth until 2040, the stakeholders have to work out the most head-turning services for passengers who will be travelling the world as the Kingdom’s connectivity rise gradually to 250 destinations by 2030.

Saudi Arabia expects the contribution of its aviation sector to more than triple, from US$21.3 billion in 2018 to US$74.6 billion by 2030. The contribution of the civil aviation and air transport sector to its GDP is expected to increase to more than SR280 billion by 2030 and make the Kingdom the first in the Middle East and the fifth globally in air connectivity.

Matarat, a holding company that operates and handles the investments of the General Authority of Civil Aviation stole the show by becoming the Platinum Sponsor of the exhibition that brought over 150 companies from more than 25 countries from the Americas, Europe, Asia and Arabian Gulf.

Goldhofer, SITA, Siemens, CCM Airports, Fraport, ADB Safegate, Egis, TLD, Serco, Swissport, BECHTEL, IHSE and Nuctech were among those who put up pavilions. Saudi Ground Services, Saudi Air Navigation Services, PPMDC, Ground Handling Logistics, Nesma United Industries, AQESA, Trans Cities Trading, Hoshan Aviation & Defense, MAFA, made it to the only airports-dedicated show in the Kingdom’s history.

A good barometer of the airport industry’s high levels of enthusiasm to ensure a better tomorrow is the success of hosted buyers programme. In the very debut edition, the SAE logged the best results with unheard-of business success, remarked officials at Niche Ideas, a Dubai-based company that organised the Saudi Airport Exhibition.

Airports are among the largest investments in countries making for a cascading effect on their economic growth and infrastructure development. The Kingdom is a future-forward economy that offers untapped potential and unique business opportunities.

The General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) is undertaking the largest transformation of the aviation sector in the 21st century through targeting regulatory reforms, airport expansions, the launch of new airlines, connecting new routes and enhancing the passenger experience. The Kingdom is slated to convert 22 airport operators into holding companies as part of a privatization process.

Hosted buyers came from Red Sea Global (RSG), a pioneering developer and the force behind several world’s most ambitious ventures in the Kingdom. Its team included Ian Williamson, Group Chief of Project Delivery, Bernard Peries, Senior Construction Director (Airports), David Ballard, Project Director – MEP/Systems (Airports), Mohamed Missaoui, Senior Project Manager (Airport) and Ahmed Al Sagoor, Construction Manager (Airport).

The Royal Commission of AlUla team included Engineer Moataz A Kurdi, Chief County Operation Officer. AlUla International Airport is working to enhance its capacity to handle five million passengers a year by 2035, along with 22,000 tonnes of cargo per year. The airport will have new passenger, cargo, private and leisure aviation terminals, as well as expanded accesses, aprons and taxiways. AlUla airport expansion is key to the Kingdom’s vision to host the world.

Oman Airports had been represented by Yasser Said Saif Al Mahruqi, General Manager for Contracts & Procurement and Abdullah Saleh Hussain Al Yafii, Vice President for Support Services. From NEOM came José Pedro Sá, Head of Aviation Strategy and Bryan Thompson, Executive Director – Airport Projects.

The other hosted buyer included Dr Salem M. Shuaib, Project Manager for the new Cluster 2. Tibah Airports Operations Company deputed Dr Ahmed S. Sharqawi, Deputy Managing Director among others.

The others were Dominic Storey, General Manager – DAA International KSA, James Duffitt, General Manager-Terminal 5, DAA International, Wayne Gough, Head of Guest Experience and Operations, DAA International.

Al Ula International Airport deputed Eng. Abdul Wahab A. Bokhari, Director of AlUla International Airport, Eid Almotairi, Vice President of Airports, and Salah Albalawi, General Manager of Western Airports.