Saudi business aviation fleet drops to second in region

The UAE has overtaken Saudi Arabia as the largest installed fleet in the Middle East according to the latest Insight report from London-based Ionic Aviation. 

How the Saudi Arabia business market stands (Image Ionic Aviation)

The company provides a range of bespoke lending and advisory services to the buyers and owners of private and corporate aircraft produces regular insights in different global regions and on the eve of EBACE in Geneva, the company shone the spotlight on Saudi Arabia’s private and business aviation fleet.

“Historically the Middle East’s largest business aviation market, the installed fleet in Saudi Arabia is now smaller than that of the UAE,” said managing director Graeme Shanks. “This is down to several factors, but the continued relocation of many multinationals and ultra-high-net-worth individuals to the Emirates, plus the fallout from 2017’s Riyadh ‘Ritz-Carlton’ episode are important factors.

Saudi Arabia now has an installed fleet of 90 aircraft, with Gulfstream being the largest OEM by fleet size (29% of the fleet), the report said.

Corporate variants of commercial aircraft – such as the BBJ and ACJs manufactured by Boeing and Airbus – represent over one third of the entire base. Almost two thirds of aircraft are based in Riyadh, the political and administrative capital.

Addressing the financial market, Ionic said that Saudi presented a challenge to those seeking to finance/refinance aircraft within the Kingdom, almost two thirds of aircraft are self-managed (no third-party operator involvement), 57% are registered locally in Saudi Arabia (HZ-), and a total of 17 aircraft are owned and operated by a variety of royal, government and military entities.

Market Insights are available from Ionic’s website