RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s push to become a global transit hub has seen Saudia clocking 52 percent growth in international passengers, with 7.4 million guests transported during the first half of 2023.
The airline operated 37,600 flights during the first six months of the year, marking a 30 percent growth over the same period last year, as the Kingdom’s flag carrier expanded its reach to four continents.
This accumulated to 180,700 flight hours, recording a 40 percent increase compared to previous periods, the airline said in its latest report for the first half of 2023.
As part of the Saudi aviation strategy, the Kingdom aims to triple its annual passenger traffic to 330 million by 2030, connecting more than 250 destinations across 29 airports.
Saudia, in its report, also revealed that it transported 6.3 million passengers on domestic routes, with 47,700 flights, accumulating 80,800 flight hours.
The national airline transported 13.7 million passengers on domestic and international routes in the first half of 2023, representing a 24 percent increase compared to the same period last year.
During the same period, Saudia added three new international destinations: Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Gatwick International Airport in London and Nice in France.
Additionally, the airline welcomed its first Airbus A321neo, marking the beginning of its fleet expansion plan that will add 20 new aircraft of the same model by 2026.
Saudia’s fleet currently stands at 140 including 33 Boeing 777-300ER, 13 Boeing 787-9, 41 Airbus 320, and 32 Airbus 330, in addition to other planes.
The report also highlighted that Saudia passed its 10th operational safety audit by the International Air Transport Association as well as reached the 23rd position in the Skytrax ranking, advancing by 11 spots.
Saudia’s records complement the overall performance of the Kingdom’s aviation sector which witnessed an 11 percent growth in the second quarter of the year, according to a report by Cluster 2, a Riyadh-based firm that manages and operates 22 airports around the Kingdom.
Cluster 2’s report indicated that flights in the second quarter of the year increased from 30,898 to 34,326 on an annual basis with passengers rising from 3.16 million to 3.7 million, a 17 percent year-on-year growth.
The report stated that the average daily flights for the second quarter were 377, with an average daily passenger count of 40,759.
This also marks an increase from the figures of 2022 which recorded 340 daily flights with 34,789 passengers, a 7 and 13 percent growth, respectively.
Additionally, new routes have been established in the second quarter of the year, with operations beginning on Jazan-Cairo, Al Jowf-Tbilisi, Jazan-Dubai and Al Qassim-Istanbul routes as well as Al Qassim-Trabzon and Al Qassim-Tbilisi sectors.