After several years of sagging performance, Saudi Arabia’s aviation market reported its strongest growth in passenger traffic in more than a decade in 2011, even against the background of the Middle East’s regional social unrest. Despite the Arab Spring uprisings in North Africa and some of the Gulf states, Saudi Arabian passenger traffic boomed in 2011, up 13.6% year-on-year in 2011, to just over 54 million passengers, as the national economy expanded 6.8% (real GDP estimate) on expanding oil output and renewed government and private sector investment. Large infrastructure investments are fuelling high movements of migrants workers from around the Gulf as well as India, Southeast Asia and China.
Saudi Arabia has opened its markets to foreign airlines and invested $20+ billion in aviation that has grown largely due to international traffic — perhaps a sign that they will one day issue tourist visas?
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