The National Aviation Strategy includes plans to triple the number of passengers and fly to 250 destinations
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has welcomed measures taken by Saudi Arabia to revive the aviation industry as it battles to save more than a quarter of a million aviation-related jobs in the Kingdom amid the global downturn in travel due to the pandemic.
In 2019, Saudi Arabia’s aviation sector supported 977,000 jobs. The pandemic has put 361,000 jobs and SR85 billion GDP at risk and passenger demand is not expected to return to 2019 levels before 2024.
The measures Saudi Arabia has implemented include opening up the Kingdom for tourists, removing quarantine for vaccinated travellers, expanding the facilitation of religious traffic to the holy cities, reinstating visa processing for international passengers and enhancing health and safety measures across all airports.
IATA’s regional vice president for Africa and Middle East Kamil Al Awadhi said: “We welcome the recent steps taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to restore air travel and enhance the passenger experience during a challenging time for aviation. Saudi Arabia recognises aviation as a catalyst for economic growth and modernisation, and we are pleased to see the Kingdom’s continued prioritisation of aviation as a key to achieving Vision 2030. After more than one year of border closures, the kick-off of the National Aviation Strategy will bring to life plans to triple the number of passengers to the Kingdom and fly to 250 destinations.”