Baronci: The Saudi civil aviation strategy will enhance socio-economic development at the local, regional and international levels
December 22, 2021
The Director General of Airports Council International (ACI) for Asia Pacific, Mr. Stefano Baronci , said in a press statement that the ambitious strategy of the civil aviation sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an important tool for promoting economic and social development at the local level, as well as at the regional and international levels. The air transport market is a major propeller of the economy and a catalyst for economic and social development. This strategy aims to promote the development of commercial air transport by increasing connectivity and competition, developing appropriate infrastructure and increasing traffic in terms of both passenger and cargo volume.
Baronci praised the air transport sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, stressing that it will have an indirect positive impact on the entire region as well as the world. He added that the thriving air transport market in the Kingdom will open the country to tourism, cultural exchange, education and professional development opportunities. This in addition to an increase of trade in goods and services.
The Director General of ACI Asia-Pacific region revealed that, according to the latest data of the Official Airline Guide (OAG), (Riyadh-Jeddah) is among the 5 busiest routes in the world in 2021. Furthermore, Baronci indicated that Saudi airports made a faster recovery process than many other countries in the region. He went on to say, “Based on the latest passenger traffic data (ACI Flash Reports - September), the total passenger traffic at airports such as Riyadh (RUH), Jeddah (JED) and Dammam (DMM) has already recovered to nearly half the level of the year 2019, passengers wise. This is due to strong health protocols and the introduction of vaccines that help control the spread of COVID-19”.
Baronci stressed that the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a sharp decline in passenger traffic around the world, but the demand for air travel is expected to grow significantly in the long term. He noted that Airports Council International expects global airport traffic in the Middle East for passengers traffic to grow by + 5.2 % each year (total annual growth rate) for the next 20 years, higher than the global average of +3.7%.