(MENAFN) Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) unveiled USD53 billion worth plan to develop the kingdom's aviation industry over the next five years, Arab News reported.
Muhammad Jamjoom, vice president for safety and licenses at GACA, said the major investment aims to meet the requirements of increasing air traffic in the kingdom, as it witnesses a growing population and unprecedented economic development.
The aviation regulator already launched plans for key expansion projects for the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh.
Preliminary studies and design work for the development and expansion of the Riyadh airport have been completed and construction work will begin soon, GACA Vice President Faisal Al-Sugair said confirmed.
From his side, Khaled Al Molhem, director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), said that Saudi Arabia receives bout 7 million people annually, adding that the Umrah sector is growing fast at the rate of 35 percent a year.
Al Molhem unveiled plans to set up Middle East's largest aircraft maintenance plant at King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah, scheduled to start operation in 2014.
Ahmed Al-Jazzar, director general of Boeing Saudi Arabia, said that the global aviation industry would need 33,500 new aircraft over the next two decades, indication that the Middle East region alone needs about 2,500 aircraft.