Riyadh’s importance to business aviation will increase in comparison to Jeddah’s in the next decade, according to a report commissioned by PrivatAir Saudi Arabia (PASA), landlord at the kingdom’s three leading private aviation terminals.
The "General and Business Aviation Forecast" Traffic Report was prepared by Fairfax, Virginia-based management consultancy ICF and released in February. “In Riyadh, data projections to 2030 show there will be [average annual] growth of 3.9 percent in passenger movements. Of that, 5.4 percent is international and 3.5 percent domestic, which shows that the market is not only growing, but that international is growing much quicker than domestic, which is always good mix in general aviation,” Mansour Alsharif, PASA managing director, told AIN at the recent Saudi Airshow at Al Thumamah Airport in Riyadh.
For 2018, the report estimated general aviation passenger throughput at around 200,000 in Riyadh, 190,000 in Jeddah and 450,000 in Dammam, the kingdom’s three main international airports, and forecast 2019-30 passenger [compound annual growth rates] of 3.9 percent, 2.7 percent, and 1.8 percent, respectively, for each airport.
Particularly until 2009, Jeddah handled the lion’s share of the general aviation traffic in the kingdom, but Riyadh has been steadily gaining. “Differences in [Jeddah in] the domestic/international split are notable, with Jeddah having a much higher international presence, whilst Riyadh is increasing its domestic passengers as a result of... events held [in] the capital,” the report said.
It said, “Aramco general aviation traffic (at Dammam) was stalling due to leakage to Bahrain and lack of demand.” Saudi Aramco is headquartered in Dhahran, which is part of the Dammam conurbation.