Riyadh airport project leads global ranking

20 February 2024
The $30bn King Salman International airport project includes developing six runways and 12 square kilometres of airport support facilities

The global airport projects pipeline, as tracked by GlobalData, is worth $580.4bn, slightly less than the $588.4bn pipeline recorded in Q4 2023.

The global pipeline is dominated by projects in the advanced stages of development, with 78.2% of projects being in the pre-execution and execution phases – this amounts to $453.7bn in total value.

Of this amount, $329bn is in the execution stage and $124.7 billion is in the pre-execution stages of design, tender, and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) award. Projects in the early stages account for a relatively small share, with 21.8% of the pipeline by value reflecting projects in the pre-planning stage (announcement and study), and planning stages.

Largest project

The largest project tracked is the King Salman International Airport in Riyadh. The project includes the construction of six parallel runways and 12 square kilometres of airport support facilities. The project is currently in the pre-execution stage, with construction planned to begin in 2024.

READ MORE: The future of Saudi aviation

Globally, the international air transport industry is continuing to recover following the impact of Covid-19 on passenger demand and total traffic.

New investment in airport infrastructure is likely to follow in the medium term as airport operators identify new trends in global travel and capacity constraints, increasing the likelihood of a positive return on investment.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported in early February 2024 that the recovery in air travel continued in December 2023, with traffic edging closer to pre-pandemic demand last year.

Total traffic (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose by 25.3% year-on-year (YoY) in December 2023, approximately 97.5% of December 2019 levels. Total traffic rose by 36.9% in 2023, reaching 94.1% of its pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

According to the IATA, the total airline (passenger and cargo) revenue is estimated to have recovered to 107% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023. It expects net post- tax profit to have reached $23.3 billion in 2023, registering a net profit margin of 2.6%.

IATA further forecasts airline net profit to reach $25.7bn in 2024, registering a 2.7% net profit margin. Although the IATA expects the airline industry to return to profitability in 2024, it is still cautious about its predictions for this year; this is due to the mixed performance of some regions, particularly Asia, and increased geopolitical tension across the world with wars in Europe and the Middle East.

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