Further evidence of the looming industry demand for professionals was presented on Tuesday at the Middle East and North Africa Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) Conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Capt. Bander Khaldi, managing director of the country’s National Aviation Academy, noted that Saudi Arabia alone will need 8,800 pilots and nearly 12,000 maintenance technicians by 2024 to keep up with worker attrition and fleet growth.
A recent Boeing study projects a worldwide demand for 790,000 pilots, as well as another 622,000 maintenance technicians, over the next 20 years. Collectively, the business aviation and civil helicopter sectors will demand an additional 155,000 pilots and 132,000 technicians. Khaldi discussed development plans for the academy and how it plans to fill the country’s specific needs. Among the other speakers were Dr. Sami Alsrisrari, deputy assistant president of aviation standards and director of safety and risk with Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation, and Capt. Mohammad Al Subaiei, director of Saudi Aramco’s local workforce development department.
The conference attracted nearly 150 business aviation professionals from the region. “The MEBAA Conferences are an integral part of our mission to drive business aviation forward in the MENA region,” explained Ali Alnaqbi, MEBAA’s founder and executive chairman. “Over the years, the conferences have grown and continue to attract the industry’s key players as speakers, panelists, and, of course, attendees.”