Saudi Arabia has announced its passenger traffic figures for 2022, seeing an increase of over 80% year-on-year.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s (KSA) General Authority for Statistics has announced the passenger traffic figures for 2022, showing a significant increase year-on-year.
Airports in the KSA saw a total of 88 million passengers in the year, an increase of 82% in 2021.
Flight movements in the KSA have also increased by 41% since 2021. National flag carrier, Saudia, saw the largest share of these movements, with almost 283,000 flights. The airline also saw
King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah experienced 32 million passengers in 2022, accounting for over a third of all passengers in the Kingdom.
The airport and city are the closest to the Holy City of Mecca. 2022 saw the return of significant levels of international Muslims for the Hajj and Umrah Pilgrimages.
As the COVID-19 travel restrictions were eased through 2022, the country benefited from the increase in travelers, and the aviation workforce was increased to account for the easing.
Male worker numbers in air transport increased by 38%, with female worker numbers increasing by 70%.
Of the 88 million passengers, 16.5 million were tourists visiting the country. This was an increase of almost double compared to pre-pandemic figures.
The Kingdom has ambitions to receive 25 million international tourists this year and has introduced various facilities to encourage travelers.
These include visas on arrival, tourist visa, stopover transit visas, and four-day visas for Umrah pilgrims.
A Kingdom for Aviation
The KSA has also introduced a series of initiatives to increase tourism in the country.
The goal is to diversify the country’s oil-based economy in a similar way to neighboring nations in the Middle East. One of these is to increase air transport and tourism.
The Kingdom established the Saudi Air Connectivity Program (ACP) in 2021 to support its vision to grow tourism in the country through enhanced air transport connections and the development of flight routes. It is part of the country’s ‘Vision 2030’ plan to make Saudi Arabia a global leader in tourism and air travel connections.
The figures follow recent reports and announcements of significant aviation expansion planned in the Kingdom.
The recent announcements of expansion in new airlines and existing airline fleets based in the kingdom are due to bring a huge increase in flights to the country and region.
International carriers have also increased connectivity to the kingdom, such as Hungary’s WizzAir through its Abu Dhabi-based subsidiary.
Saudi Arabia continues to be a focus for aviation expansion, both as a regional and international hub.