RIYADH Air travel in Saudi Arabia is soaring thanks to an 82 percent surge in passengers to 88 million in 2022 compared to the previous 12 months, according to the General Authority of Statistics.
According to the report, King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah emerged as the busiest airport in Saudi Arabia in 2022, as it handled 32 million passengers.
King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh came in second, with about 27 million passengers, followed by King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, with about 10 million.
In 2022, the average number of daily flights arriving and departing at international airports was 131.29 and at domestic airports was 5.94.
The impressive recovery in the aviation sector after the universal pandemic also pushed the ancillary companies to new heights.
The number of companies involved in air transport activities such as passenger movement, cargo handling, and other transit support activities touched 1,443 — an increase of 20 percent over 2021.
The Air Transport Statistics Publication further highlighted the improving employment scenario in the sector.
The number of female employees in these companies increased by 70 percent to 4,000 last year compared to the earlier year. The headcount of male employees, on the other hand, rose 38 percent to 28,000.
The report also threw some surprises on the private aviation front as flights on these aircraft increased 41 percent to 64,000 in 2022.
“King Khalid International Airport recorded the highest number of private flights in 2022 by 32 percent compared to other airports,” the report stated.
Commercial flights undoubtedly held the chunkier pie with 701,000 during the period under review, which also clocked 41 percent over the earlier year.
Meanwhile, international air freight was also northbound in 2022 — a reflection of an economy putting the pedal to the metal — as it picked up 12 percent to 559,000 tons in 2022 from 2021.
The report added that the Netherlands registered the highest number of international cargo departures for 2021 and 2022.