Saudia Private Aviation (SPA) plans to open business-jet FBOs at Saudi Arabia’s four main airports–Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Medina–within a year, according to company managing director Wajdi Al Idrissi. The facility at SPA’s Jeddah home base is expected to open next month.
Saudi Arabia signed a $29.5 billion letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) for 84 new and 70 upgraded F-15 Strike Eagles last week. The deal, which took 18 months to conclude, is by far the biggest foreign military sale in U.S. history.
Citing “industry experts,” the State Department claimed that the agreement would support more than 50,000 jobs at 600 suppliers in 44 states. U.S. government officials said it would help ensure secure and stability in the Gulf region.
Civilian aviation regulation has effectively been removed from the control of the Saudi Arabian defense ministry following the death of former crown prince and defense minister, Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, in October.
Jet Aviation’s expansion in the Middle East continues, highlighted by the recent grand opening of its new terminal in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where the company has had an FBO since 1983. The opening ceremony, held earlier this month, brought guests from 10 countries to the 32,292-sq-ft facility, which was developed as a joint venture with Saudi partners under the Jet Aviation Saudi Arabia banner.
Comlux Middle East and Saudia Private Aviation have signed an agreement for joint development of charter business opportunities in the Middle East. Comlux Middle East, one of Comlux the Aviation Group’s companies, holds a European air operators certificate and will make its fleet of six Airbus corporate jets (soon to be eight) available for Saudia Private Aviation customers.
Pratt & Whitney Canada has signed a multi-year fleet management program contract with Aramco Associated, an affiliate of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco). Under the terms of the contract, P&WC will provide engine support for the Saudi Aramco-operated AgustaWestland AW139 fleet based in Saudi Arabia. The program’s guaranteed maintenance cost plan contract covers PT6 engines over the term of the agreement.
A letter of intent (LOI) has been signed between Sikorsky Aerospace Services (SAS) and Alpha Star Aviation Services, opening dialog about a joint venture to provide military and commercial aviation support and maintenance services in Saudi Arabia. Alpha Star Aviation Services is an aerospace services provider based in Riyadh.
I have long suspected that the main U.S. purpose in supplying huge arms packages to Gulf countries is to recycle petrodollars. Uncle Sam pays heavily for its reliance on imported oil, but offers in return a shopping list of shiny new weaponry from the U.S. defense industry. Like kids in a candy store, the Arabs take up these offers, although with not enough thought given to how they might absorb and operate the kit.
Alsalam Aircraft delivered a Lockheed L-100 Hercules in VIP configuration (photo, above) to an undisclosed customer at last month’s Meba show in Dubai. The aircraft features an interior designed by the Saudi Arabian company.