Airport upgrade and new domestic subsidiary to contribute to further growth on the route
Traffic between airports in Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia is the fastest growing in the Middle East, and among the fastest growing in the world, according to data analysed by flight routes analyser RoutesOnline.
More than 5.09 million passengers traversed the 857 kilometre distance by air between the two cities in the Arab world’s largest economy in 2017.
The 13.9% growth in traffic over the year came second only to the Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur flight route between Indonesia and Malaysia among the top 100 busiest flight routes of the year, according to the report.
Traffic in the latter pair grew by 29.4% over the year to more than 2.81 million passengers in 2017.
The Jeddah-Riyadh route is operated by five domestic Saudi carriers: Nesma Airlines, Saudi Gulf Airlines, Saudia, Flyadeal and Flynas, as well as a number of charter and international flights.
Demand on the route is traditionally among the largest in the Middle East due to Jeddah’s proximity to the cities of Makkah and Madinah, Islam’s holiest sites for muslim pilgrims.
Traffic on the route is set to increase further after an upgrade in airport facilities including the runway at King AbdulAziz International Airport in Jeddah, which now allows up to 40 flights per hour compared to eight previously.
The commencement of operations low cost Saudia subsidiary, Flyadeal, in September last year is also expected to boost traffic growth further in 2018.
The airline booked more than 100,000 flights in the first two months after it commenced operations on the route last year.