Saudi Arabia will require 8,800 pilots and 11,700 technicians by 2024 to meet the increasing demand generated by the industry, a senior official from the National Aviation Academy said.
Speaking at the recent Middle East and North Africa Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) Conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Captain Bander Khaldi, Managing Director, National Aviation Academy, attributed the need for a large number of pilots to attrition replacement and fleet growth.
During his presentation, he described the development plans for the Academy, with a focus on how it will aim to meet the country’s need.
Saudi Arabia’s aviation market is witnessing strong growth, with the country’s airports having recorded 8% passenger growth in 2017, to reach 91.8 million, and numbers anticipated to hit 100 million this year, according to the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).
Five airlines now serve the domestic market, compared to only two airlines two years ago.
“Intensifying competition has led to lower fares, simulating demand and leading to faster growth, although overcapacity is a potential concern,” the Centre for Aviation (CAPA) said in a recent report.
National carrier Saudia, the Kingdom’s market leader, has been focusing on expanding in the international market, having recorded international passenger growth of 14% in 2017 and 12% in the first six months of 2018.
Saudia is planning to further expand operations as it grows its fleet and moves into a new terminal at Jeddah.
The airline plans to grow its fleet to 200 aircraft by the end of 2020, up from around 150 aircraft at present.