Airports throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia together logged a 9.5 percent growth in the number of travelers in 2015, from 74.8 million recorded in 2014 to 81.9 million. Majority of these pilgrims are umrah pilgrims.

Also, a hike of 9.8 percent in the number of flights is also recorded, as reported by the officials. In 2014, this number was around 58.9 million, which has now increased to around 64.6 million.

The Emirates News Agency, WAM, citing the Saudi Press Agency, said that the kingdom’s General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) statistics disclosed that King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah documented 30.1 million passengers and 212,799 flights, and Riyadh’s King Khaled International Airport logged 22.5 million passengers and 172,754 flights.

Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Airport in Madinah received 6.3 million passengers and 48,296 flights, and King Fahd International Airport in Damman received 9.4 million passengers and 84,803 flights.

General Authority Civil Aviation further said that a total of 23 domestic and regional airports across Saudi Arabia verified 13.5 million passengers and 128,041 flights.

The news will mound additional pressure on the authorities to pace up and perfectly complete Jeddah’s new airport by the end of this year according to the plan.

The airport’s director, Abdullah Al Rimi, was cited as saying last month that the rising number of travelers to the kingdom’s central airport puts on a “grave challenge” to the airport’s operations and procedures in its transitional phase before shifting to the new airport in mid-2016. King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah has marked a swelling amount of air traffic movement and is presently three times overcapacity.

Rimi said: “Once opened, the new airport will be a quantum leap in air travel industry in the region and will enable the kingdom to compete with the world in the domain of airport and passenger service.”

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