Duty free leads 24% year-on-year pax sales growth at KKIA in first half

By Luke Barras-hill |

June duty free sales at KKIA registered record growth of +33% in a month that returned an all-time high in international passenger numbers. Source: KKIA.

Duty free sales at King Khalid International Airport (KKIA) increased 39% year-on-year in the first half of 2023, operator Riyadh Airports Company (RAC) has announced.

The performance was 93% above sales registered in the same period in 2019, with June 2023 notching record growth of +33% over the previous record set in July 2022.

Sales from passenger-driven activities, including retail and F&B services, rose 66% in the first half of this year compared with 2019 and by 24% on the same period in 2022.

On an annualised basis, duty free sales in 2022 grew 51% over 2019.

H1 international pax +36%

Abdulaziz Al-Asaker, Chief Commercial Officer, RAC.

First half international passenger numbers were 36% ahead of 2022 and 22% above 2019.

Total international passengers recovered to pre-pandemic levels at the end of 2022.

Thirty three new services to 21 countries were launched in the first half of 2023, including 11 new destinations.

The first direct flight to Beijing will commence in August, adding to an existing Guangzhou service.

Abdulaziz Al Asaker, Chief Commercial Officer, RAC stated: “We are delighted with these strong new records. June benefitted from the aligning of the school holiday and Eid al-Adha holidays, but the underlying growth remains exceptional, both commercially and with passenger growth driven by route development and strong demand.

“We are also proud to be the first and only airport in the Middle East to receive the Welcome China certification, which will support further commercial growth from increased Chinese travellers using the airport. We look forward to continued progress in the second half of the year.”


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