Saudia Private Aviation (SPA), the business jet arm of Saudi Arabian Airlines, is seeing increased interest from businesses in the Kingdom in acquiring new aircraft, as it prepared to open the largest FBO in the country, at Jeddah.
Saudi Arabian Airlines
Saudia Private Aviation (SPA), the business jet arm of Saudi Arabian Airlines, is seeing increased interest from businesses in the Kingdom in acquiring new aircraft, as it prepared to open the country’s largest FBO in Jeddah. “SPA’s operations will grow 100 percent year-on-year this year,” said SPA CEO Wajdi Al Idrissi. “The government is spending the money and there is no decline in growth. In Saudi Arabia, private aviation is growing at 15 to 20 percent a year.”
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Civil Aviation has postponed until next February a long-awaited decision on which foreign airline it will allow to start operating domestic and international services in the country’s highly restrictive air transport market, the agency confirmed last week. Confusingly, GACA spokesman Khalid Al-Khaibary told Arab News the Saudis will grant startup licenses to whatever airline wins within four to six months, even though authorities say they expect flights to begin in April.
Qatar Airways is set to become the first foreign carrier to make lasting inroads into the Saudi Arabian air transport market, in moves that could overturn long-standing restrictions that have made the large and wealthy country something of a sleeping giant.
Robert Bryant has joined UK-based International Bureau of Aviation as manager of technical projects. He joins the firm from SpiceJet in India, where he was vice president. He has also held senior positions at Air Astana and Al Salam Aircraft and has worked with carriers such as British Airways and Saudia. An IBA spokesman said the consulting firm has seen demand for expert-witness testimony in the field of aircraft maintenance increase 400 percent over the last two years. IBA advises commercial and business aviation clients, aircraft engine manufacturers and operators.
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.
Abu Dhabi’s emergence as a leading business aviation hub in the Arabian Gulf was further enhanced by the March staging of the inaugural Air Expo. The event, held at the Al Bateen Executive Airport nine months before rival Dubai’s Middle East Business Aviation show, attracted a reported 10,700 visitors and 105 exhibitors.
Business aviation in the Middle East is expected to keep growing at a faster rate than that seen in North America and Europe, but slower than the more dynamic expansion now being seen in the emerging markets of Asia. This is the broad consensus among manufacturers and service providers for a region that is now emerging from a somewhat unsettled two-year period that has seen some fall-out from wider economic problems and the so-called Arab Spring political unrest.
West Star Aviation has named John Hayes general manager at its Dallas Love Field facility. Hayes has more than 33 years’ experience in the aviation industry and was most recently director of maintenance with Business Jet Access in Dallas. Before that he held positions with NJI, Executive Jet International, Net Jets Middle East, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Gulfstream.
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.