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Saudi Arabia’s passenger air traffic soars to 112 million

This has exceeded pre-pandemic levels, as well as increased by 26% from 2022.

Saudi Arabia’s passenger air traffic soars to 112 million
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Saudi Arabia’s aviation sector has experienced significant growth, with passenger and flight levels in 2023 surpassing pre-pandemic numbers.

The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) reported that Saudi airports welcomed 112 million travelers last year, marking a 26% increase compared to the figures from 2019.

“Saudi Arabia is now more connected to the world than ever before, delivering record double-digit growth in flights and passengers carried during 2023,” said Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, GACA President.

During the same period, the total number of flights in the kingdom increased by 16% to 814,995, up from 701,290. Additionally, air connectivity for Saudi Arabia has evolved, with the number of destinations reaching 148 in 2023.

The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) notes that low-cost carriers have significantly impacted passenger traffic, increasing their domestic market share from 27% to 44%. Similarly, budget airlines’ global market share doubled from the pandemic’s 16% to 32% in 2023.

These accomplishments are in line with the Saudi Aviation Strategy, which aims to position the kingdom as the leading aviation sector in the Middle East by 2030. The strategy seeks to attract $100 billion in private and government investments across the kingdom’s airports, airlines, and aviation support services. It aims to expand the country’s connectivity from 99 to over 250 destinations across 29 airports, triple annual passenger traffic to 330 million, establish two global long-haul connecting hubs, and increase air cargo capacity to 4.5 million tons.

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