A new airshow is coming to Saudi Arabia as the kingdom boosts its contribution to a regional aviation events calendar already bustling with activity. The first-ever Saudi Airshow takes place on March 12-14 at Al Thumamah Airport, near the capital, Riyadh, and it is being organized by the Saudi Aviation Club (SAC).
The SAC announced December 10 that Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) had taken a role as a strategic partner and main sponsor of the event. Some 100 aircraft, ranging in size from single-engine pistons and executive jets to widebody airliners, will be on display at the show. A bank of chalets and three exhibition halls hosting 500 exhibitors, including international pavilions, will be on show.
“The Saudi Airshow is one of the most important new destinations in the world of civil aviation as Saudi Arabia is one of the leading countries in the region in the aviation industry and has the largest market for aircraft parts in the Middle East,” according to the SAC.
The club was established in 2000 and exists as “an independent nonprofit entity to promote aeronautical sciences and to encourage the participation of the public in aviation.” Al Thumamah Airport is located 30 km (18 miles) north of Riyadh King Khalid International Airport and 64 km north of downtown Riyadh.
These are exciting times for aviation in Saudi Arabia, but the kingdom is sometimes still seen as being unresponsive to the needs of international visitors in terms of visas and access. “They're going to have to work on that if they're going to make these kinds of events successful because there's no shortage of business people such as myself who want to go and invest in Saudi Arabia,” a Gulf-based aviation official told AIN at the MEBAA Show.