Saudi Arabia to debate future airport developments as aviation growth outpaces projections

King Abdulaziz airport’s expansion among the world’s Top-5

Airport construction market to reach US$1.4 trillion by 2026

Future Airport Development and Investment Summit to explore new partnerships

Topics under the spotlight include Rebuilding Aviation Industry Post-Pandemic; Digital Disruption and Innovation in Aviation, and Passenger-Centric Airports of Tomorrow

IATA, SITA, Munich, Bahrain and Changi officials amongst experts addressing Summit

Airport developments and investment are under a sharp focus with renewed vigour and vitality in Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s largest aviation market, which is projected to have the fastest passenger traffic growth until 2040. A decade before that the aviation sector will deliver US$75 billion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the world’s 13th largest country by area and the second largest in the Arab world with a population of over 36 million.

Saudi Arabia has been featured on the list of the global airport construction market that is projected to reach US$1.4 trillion by 2026, even as airport and airline managements look at new ideas and partnerships to leverage the industry’s huge growth potential after the pandemic brought the aviation sector to a standstill over the previous two years.

The role of aviation in achieving Saudi Vision 2030; Preparing the Kingdom’s Air Transport Strategy for the Next Decade; Stakeholder collaboration to achieve the Saudi Aviation Strategy; Pioneering aviation sustainability in the oil-rich kingdom and Digital Disruption and Innovation in the Aviation Sector will be amongst the widely debated topics at the two-day Future Airport Development and Investment Summit taking place alongside the Saudi Airport Exhibition to be held at Al Faisaliah Hotel in Riyadh on November 7 and 8.

The Summit will host over 300 delegates who will get to hear from key industry leaders including Mohamed Yousif Al Binfalah, Chief Executive Officer, Bahrain Airports Company; Lorenzo di Loreto, Managing Director, Munich Airport International; Capt Rabiu Yadudu Hamisu, Managing Director/CEO, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria; Andrew H.W. TAN, Director and Head, Airport Operations Consultancy, Changi Airports International; Curtis Grad, Partner, President & CEO, Modalis Infrastructure Partners Inc.; Kashif Khalid, Regional Director – Middle East & Africa, IATA; Michael Schneider, Executive Vice President of Airports, Siemens Logistics; Joseph Stratford, Project Executive Director, Airport Projects Delivery, The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) and Frederico Fernandes, Managing Director GCC, Vports, amongst other experts from Egis, Serco, SITA, AECOM and Oliver Wyman.

The Summit will take place against the background of a total of 633 active projects at existing airports globally, with US$565.7 billion investments. At the start of 2022, 1,038 airport projects were identified to be at various stages of development, including 452 in execution. According to GlobalData, the total pipeline of new airport construction projects had a combined value of US$1.64 trillion while the global fleet of aircraft is projected to touch 36,500 aircraft by 2031 and the global airport construction market size has been revised to US$1.4 trillion by 2026.

Saudi Arabia is undertaking a massive airport expansion and upgrade programme to serve 330 million travellers by 2030 through US$147 billion investments that will support US$82.3 billion of GDP by 2037. The Kingdom’s prized possession, King Abdulaziz International Airport, is being expanded and tops the list of the world’s 50 biggest airport construction projects by value. It is among the top five projects that together account for a combined value of US$126.7 billion. Jeddah airport had the highest number of international and domestic flights in 2019, operating almost 242,000 flights. Phase 2 of the airport’s expansion will increase the capacity to accommodate 43 million passengers a year and 80 million passengers by 2035.

Speaking about their participation at the Summit, global industry leaders shared the following insights into the topics they would be presenting.

“As a global airport consultant and manager, Changi Airports International is delighted to be invited as a panellist at the Saudi Airport Exhibition. We will be speaking on a theme close to our ethos: Passenger Centric Thinking to Prepare the Airports of Tomorrow. We look forward to meeting with key players in the booming Middle East aviation market and exchanging insights with industry experts across the world.” Andrew TAN, Director and Head Airport Operations, Changi Airports International Pte. Ltd.

“With KSA expecting to host 50 million travellers in its airports by the end of 2022, understanding customer insights and creating seamless journeys is essential. Providing the right airport experience has a major impact on customer’s confidence, loyalty, engagement and spend. Fundamentally, great experiences create loyalty and recurring visitors that will continue to choose KSA as a destination. By prioritising user-centred design, airports in the Kingdom have a great chance to get it right.” Rena Baba, Director, ExperienceLab, Serco

“We have strong relations in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Region and our company is actively involved in this future oriented and fast growing market. We will be speaking on the Passenger Experience panel at the Saudi Airport Exhibition conference, where we will be sharing our expertise and knowledge, especially in the field of baggage identification with artificial intelligence, which we believe is a key element of future aviation development in the region.” Volker Brandt, CEO, TRAMAK GmbH

“We have worked with major ATM companies developing the next generation of ATM equipment and our firsthand knowledge of where the industry is heading in years to come will help us provide an insight for attendees into where ANSP’s should be investing to cater for future operations. Having worked on numerous projects in The Kingdom and the Middle East in recent years, we understand the market and potential for even further growth. This region is a cornerstone of aviation in the global ecosystem and a critical market for Air Traffic Solutions.” Mike Lockwood, Managing Director, Air Traffic Solutions Pty Ltd

“We will be sharing the latest global market information and intelligence on the 100+ deals that Modalis is tracking on the airportIR deal pipeline. Our platform has been designed to provide key airport investors, operators, grantors, financiers and advisors with insight, analysis and industry intel on private-sector airport transactions, development, and investment opportunities. We are keen to support Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East region’s efforts to enhance the private sector’s role in Aviation and look forward to sharing our insights with attendees at the conference.” Curtis Grad, Partner, President & CEO, Modalis Infrastructure Partners Inc.

Saudi Airport Exhibition will be free to attend for industry professionals and in addition to hosting over 150 exhibitors, the event is supported by Platinum Sponsor Matarat Holding, Gold Sponsors The Arabian Petroleum Supply Company (APSCO) and Saudi Sicli Company, industry associations Air Tech Italy and GATE (German Airport Technology and Equipment) and event sponsors AECOM and Bechtel.