On the verge of creating a second national company, Saudi Arabia is preparing to order up to 80 brand new planes. Half would be long-haul, and possibly even Airbus A350s. For its part, the American company must announce a giant order for 100 long-haul aircraft, potentially A350s.
Is Saudi Arabia about to buy around forty Airbus A350s? According to the Reuters news agency, the announcement could be made as early as this week by the PIF, the Saudi public investment fund. The future airline of the kingdom, in the course of creation, would indeed have entered into exclusive negotiations with the European aircraft manufacturer. The amount of this potential order is estimated at $12 billion at list price. This order would also include single-aisle A320 Family aircraft, bringing the total number of aircraft ordered to 80. But caution is still required because Riyadh could make a mix and also buy Boeings.
100 billion dollars in aviation
If confirmed, this A350 order would be part of the Saudi “Vision 2030” strategy which aims to compete with the three major Gulf companies: Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways on long-haul lines. . In order to diversify its economy and be less dependent on oil, Saudi Arabia wants to develop tourism and attract thirty million international passengers in transit by the end of the decade, against less than four million today. today.
Saudi Arabia plans to invest at least $100 billion in aviation over the next eight years to establish itself as an international aviation hub. Based at King Khaled International Airport, 35 kilometers north of Riyadh, the new Saudi airline could take the name of RIA and begin operations by the end of the year. It would then become with Saudia the second national company of the kingdom.
An ongoing order for 100 long-haul aircraft in the United States
If the order from Airbus is confirmed, it would relaunch large orders for long-haul aircraft, a segment whose post-Covid sales are still struggling to take off again. While the 500th copy of A350 was delivered in Toulouse at the end of September to the Spanish company Iberia, the order book for this long-haul aircraft has 400 aircraft to be delivered. Another good news could this time come from across the Atlantic. The American company United is about to place a “three-digit” order for a hundred long-haul planes. The Airbus A350 is in the final against the Boeing 787, older, less efficient and whose production has been stopped for many months for safety problems.
This order, which should be completed by the end of the year, would be one of the largest in history for long-haul twin-aisle aircraft. The Toulouse aeronautical group is well placed since United has already placed an order for 45 A350s but whose deliveries have been constantly postponed. The new order for 100 aircraft could therefore include these 45 aircraft and add an additional 55. So far United’s long-haul fleet is 100% Boeing (767, 777 and 787).