The International Air Transport Association (IATA) presented the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with a study quantifying the economic benefits of aviation to the Saudi Arabian economy.
The study was commissioned by IATA and completed by Oxford Economics. It was presented to His Highness Prince Fahad Alabdullah, who is President of the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) and Chairman of the Board of Saudi Arabian Airlines, by Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO who is visiting Saudi Arabia.
“Aviation is a force for good in our world. The industry has turned our planet into a global community by connecting people to business, bringing products to markets, facilitating journeys of discovery and uniting families and friends. This has a significant economic impact. Globally, aviation provides employment to some 57 million people and supports $2.2 trillion in business. And in Saudi Arabia, aviation and aviation-enabled tourism supports 3.2% of the Kingdom’s GDP and 3.0% of the workforce,” said Tyler.
Highlights of the study include:
- Aviation supports 1.8% of Saudi Arabia’s GDP equal to SAR 30.2 billion annually.
- Aviation is a quality employer, providing work for some 152,000 people in Saudi Arabia. The productivity of these jobs is 1.8 times higher than the average for Saudi Arabia.
- Aviation-enabled tourism in Saudi Arabia employs a further 139,000 people and supports some SAR 23.6 billion of economic activity annually.
- In total, aviation and aviation-enabled tourism accounts for 3.2% of Saudi Arabia’s GDP and 3.0% of employment.
During his visit, Tyler also met with Saudi Arabian Airlines Director General, Eng. Khalid Almolhem, executives of Saudi Arabian Airlines, and government officials. Topics of discussion included further liberalization of airspace and the development of Saudi Arabian Airlines and aviation in the Kingdom. IATA also concluded agreements to accredit Saudi Arabian Airlines’ training centers as authorized training centers of the IATA Training and Development Institute. This is a significant step for the development of aviation’s human capital in the region.
Tyler also noted the intent by the government of Saudi Arabia to enable an e-customs platform, and hoped this could lead to a phased implementation and eventually facilitate full implementation of e-Freight in Saudi Arabia.
“Aviation is a critical component of the Saudi economy. Saudi Arabia’s 27 airports handle over 54 million passengers annually, and the numbers are growing at double-digit pace. The aviation investments made in the Gulf region in recent years shows the vital role aviation can play in building and diversifying economies. The new King Abdulaziz international airport project is a good example of such important investment. It is essential that the Saudi government continue with those policies to support the efficient development of connectivity by avoiding unreasonable taxes and onerous regulation, and building sufficient infrastructure,” said Tyler.