Stock Saudi airport
Saudi passengers prepare to check-in for flights at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. Image Credit: AP

Riyadh: The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) announced that the Kingdom's air transport sector achieved remarkable growth in 2023. Passenger traffic reached a record-breaking 112 million, reflecting a significant 26 per cent increase compared to 2022 and exceeding pre-pandemic levels (2019) by more than 8 per cent. This robust performance underscores the successful recovery of the transportation sector from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

GACA's air traffic performance report reveals a corresponding rise in flight activity. The Kingdom's airports witnessed approximately 815,000 flight movements in 2023, representing a 16 per cent increase over the previous year.

International travel experienced a surge, with passenger numbers reaching approximately 61 million and flight movements exceeding 394,000. King Abdulaziz International Airport emerged as the nation's busiest hub, averaging 30 flights per hour. Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport followed closely with a rate of 27 flights per hour, while King Fahd International Airport placed third with 11 flights per hour.

Domestic travel also displayed a positive trajectory. Passenger volume on domestic routes climbed to 51 million, facilitated by over 421,000 domestic flights departing from various airports across the Kingdom.

Air cargo transportation witnessed a modest but steady increase of over 7 per cent in 2023, with a total volume exceeding 918,000 tons compared to 854,000 tons in 2022.

GACA serves as the regulatory body for Saudi Arabia's air transport sector. Its core responsibilities include establishing and overseeing the implementation of executive regulations, collaborating with relevant authorities, and continuously striving to improve the quality of air travel services and enhance the passenger experience. GACA's strategic vision focuses on shaping the future of the sector by fostering a competitive and attractive investment environment. Ultimately, the authority aims to solidify Saudi Arabia's position as a regional and global leader in air travel, contributing to the goals outlined in Vision 2030, the Kingdom's ambitious development roadmap that envisions doubling air transport capacity by 2030.

Saudi Air Traffic report