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Planes prepare for take-off at Riyadh's King Khalid Airport in Saudi Arabia. Image Credit: SHUTTERSTOCK

Dubai: King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh has reported a significant increase in passenger traffic in the second quarter of 2023, with 7.3 million passengers passing through, compared to 7.1 million during the same period in 2019.

The daily average number of passengers also rose to more than 80,000 against 78,000 in 2019, as outlined in the operational performance report of the Riyadh Airports Company.

In addition to passenger numbers, the number of flights also saw a 6 per cent increase, reaching more than 51,000 flights in comparison to the 48,000 recorded in the second quarter of 2019. This resulted in an average of 562 flights per day, up from 531 during the same period in 2019.

Travel destinations accessible from King Khalid International Airport also saw an upturn of 4.6 per cent, reaching 90 destinations, of which 24 are domestic and 66 are international. This is an increase from the 86 destinations offered in 2019.

The airport saw the addition of eight new destinations during the quarter. The most frequented local destinations included Jeddah, Abha, Madinah, Dammam, and Jazan, while the busiest international routes were to Dubai, Cairo, Amman, and Doha.

Moreover, commercial airlines offering transportation and freight services increased by 30 per cent, from 39 companies in 2019 to 51 in 2023. The cargo sector at the airport also saw robust growth of 43 per cent, with the total number of tons handled rising to 83,000 tons from 58,000 tons in the same period in 2019.

Commenting on the report, Musad Abdulaziz Aldaood, CEO of Riyadh Airports Company, noted that the ongoing growth at Riyadh airport is indicative of the city’s increasing regional and international prestige. He emphasized the importance of harnessing all human, logistical, and technical capabilities to cater to the rising number of passengers during peak travel periods.