THC helicopters help lift tourism


The helicopter industry is shaping the future of travel and tourism - no longer just a symbol of luxury and influence but having a profound effect on business tourism, leisure travel, tours, and special events by enhancing the journey, saving time and facilitating access to remote locations.

The global aviation sector has been witnessing consistent growth, predominantly in passenger numbers and cargo. This has given rise to substantial competition for market share, which also motivates the sector’s drive toward innovation and sustainability.

Saudi Arabia’s aviation industry, meanwhile, is following both global and regional trends as it experiences unprecedented growth. The Kingdom’s National Aviation Strategy supports the development of key infrastructure, in line with its Saudi Vision 2030 aspirations to be the region’s leading nation in the sector.

The Helicopter Company (THC) is the country’s premier provider of commercial helicopter services and is rapidly becoming not only the largest general aviation company in KSA, but one of the biggest in the MENA region. Established in 2018 and with first operations in 2019, it now has 50+ helicopters operating from 15 bases.

“THC was established as part of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF)’s strategy to activate new sectors in support of Vision 2030,” says Captain Arnaud Martinez, Chief Executive Officer of THC. “It’s about creating a whole new ecosystem for general aviation services and introducing safe and efficient transport across the Kingdom.”

THC is growing at an unprecedented rate – we have a target for 65 aircraft by the end of 2024 and recently signed framework agreements to provide us with access to some 250 new helicopters within the next four to seven years”
– Captain Arnaud Martinez


The company’s offering includes a wide range of services provided by helicopters, helping foster the growth of tourism within the Kingdom by backing giga projects and other key development programs with tailormade solutions.

As the Saudi National Tourism Strategy looks to create 1 million jobs in tourism and contribute to up to 10 per cent of GDP by 2030, THC’s services in the sector have been expanding in parallel.

“We flew over 16,000 hours in 2023 and we are aiming for a fleet of more than 100 aircraft by 2026,” he adds. “THC is growing at an unprecedented rate – we have a target for 65 aircraft by the end of 2024 and recently signed framework agreements to provide us with access to some 250 new helicopters within the next four to seven years.”

The company has been a continuous source of support for tourism in Saudi Arabia. “One example is our partnership with the Royal Commission for AlUla to offer scenic tours of the Kingdom and opportunities with giga-projects like NEOM and Red Sea Global,” Captain Martinez says.

THC has also propped up other areas of growth for the Kingdom, including the sports and entertainment sectors, by offering their services at high-profile events such as Formula 1, Formula E, the Dakar Rally, and MDL BEAST Soundstorm, as well as others.



For business travelers, time is the most valuable currency. As such, helicopter transportation can play a key role in maximizing this precious commodity by providing quick and direct options for travel.

“When you fly commercial airlines, you have to deal with traffic, long check-ins, delays, transfers,” Captain Martinez says. “Helicopters can make a full-day journey into only a couple of hours and, since they can land in places airliners can’t access, they enable business travelers to reach important appointments faster and with less hassle.

“Such efficiency opens up the possibility to, for example, have in-person meetings in several cities in a single day. Can you think of any other mode of transport that allows you to do this?” he asks.



Helicopter tours tend to be an unforgettable way to explore destinations. “Think of how a busy, metropolitan city looks from a peaceful vantage point up in the air,” Captain Martinez muses. He is also excited about the opportunity to give customers a view of Saudi Arabia that they will always remember. “I believe in the beauty of our country, and that more people should visit and get to see it for themselves. A helicopter tour of AlUla is a once-in-a-lifetime experience – like Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon or New York,” he says.

And in the world of special events, helicopters are all about big entrances, exclusivity, and glamor – whether it’s an elegant gala, high-profile concert, or aerial tour of a venue. “With a helicopter, you add an element of surprise, sophistication… memories that will stay with guests for years to come,” the THC CEO says.