The 2024 Future Aviation Forum has drawn to a close in Riyadh, exceeding expectations with 102 deals and agreements announced over the two days – valued at more than $21 billion. Announcements included national air service agreements, aircraft orders, and agreements covering cargo and logistics, advanced air mobility, human capability, information technology, and maintenance, repair and overhaul.

The event was attended by 7,000 global aviation leaders from more than 100 countries, including 31 Ministers and 77 heads of Civil Aviation Authorities, with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Secretary-General Juan Carlos Salazar providing the closing address.

As part of the forum GACA also launched its inaugural State of Aviation report, which found the Saudi aviation sector contributed around $53 billion to the economy and supported around 958,000 jobs. GACA also hosted the inaugural Aviation Investment Showcase to facilitate investment in Saudi aviation and featured an Advanced Air Mobility pavilion at the event. Saudia Airlines announcement to purchase 105 Airbus A320-Neo and A321-Neo aircraft took centre stage.

Minister Saleh Al Jasser hailed the Future Aviation Forum as a resounding success, uniting global aviation leaders to develop innovative solutions for the sector’s future. He reiterated Saudi Arabia’s commitment to fostering opportunities for the private sector and creating employment through continued investment in aviation capabilities.

GACA President HE Abdulaziz Al-Duailej said: “The 2024 Future Aviation Forum has been an extraordinary event, exceeding all expectations. Over the past few days, we have witnessed groundbreaking commercial agreements, forward-thinking policy initiatives, and transformative partnerships that will undoubtedly enhance global aviation connectivity. The deals and commitments made here represent a monumental vote of confidence in Saudi Arabia’s aviation sector and our vision to become a global leader in this vital industry.”

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) signed Air Service Agreements with Mozambique and the Kingdom of Eswatini, with further agreements signed with Cambodia, Brunei, Darussalam, Kiribati, Grenada, Malawi, Romania, Belize, Iribati, Grenada, Malawi, Romania, Belize, São Tomé, Príncipe, Republic of Lithuania, Republic of El Salvador and Albania.

Day two of the event also included a special address from HE Dr Abdullah Al Rabeeah from the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre on the importance of aviation in distributing foreign aid into disaster zones, announcing a proposal to launch a UN Global Aid Aviation Council.

The Forum was supported by a multitude of supporting events that created a Festival of Aviation in the capital, including the Airports Council International World Annual General Assembly, the ICAO Facilitation Summit, the Seventh Meeting of ICAO’s Directors General of Civil Aviation-Middle East Region, the Middle East and North Africa Air Regional Safety and Oversight Organization, the Fourth Edition of the Saudi Airports Awards, and the first Arab Civil Aviation Organization Security Forum.

Speakers at the Forum included the Saudi Minister of Tourism, HE Ahmed Al Khateeb, H.E. Dr Abdullah Al Rabeeah, Transport Ministers from Malaysia, Lithuania, Saudi Space Agency CEO Mohammed Altamimi, Human Capability Program CEO Anas AlMudaifer, executives from the International Civil Aviation Organization, Airports Council International, Saudia, Riyadh Air, Airbus, Boeing, Wizz Air, King Salman International Airport, Fraport AG, Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Oman Airports, Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation, Gensler, Munich Airport,The International Air Cargo Association, Swissport, Global Express Association and Etihad Airways, Flydubai, Gulf Air Group, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Saudi Technics.