King Khalid Airport 2022 duty free sales soar above pre-pandemic level by +51%

SAUDI ARABIA. Riyadh Airports Company (RAC) has posted an outstanding commercial sales performance for 2022 at King Khalid International Airport (KKIA) as international passenger numbers exceeded pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.

Duty free sales outstripped passenger growth, soaring +51% over full year 2019, while Q4 produced a stellar +60% gain against the comparable pre-pandemic period. Duty free revenues improved by +91% against 2021 as the market rebounded from the COVID-19 crisis. The airport’s duty free stores are owned by Lagardère Travel Retail-owned Aelia Duty Free.

Food & beverage sales at KKIA rose +18% for Q4 against the same period in 2019 and other retail by +8%. Other retail includes services, car rental, lounges and non-duty free shops. Car rental traditionally accounts for a large proportion of the category. Its business is predominantly linked with domestic passengers, where passenger volumes have not recovered at the pace of international, hence the lower relative performance.

RAC credited the strong commercial performance to a continued focus on maximising opportunities through a strong collaborative approach.

Business is set to be further boosted with the addition of arrivals shopping after Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan’s recent approval of the rules governing duty free stores at the Kingdom’s entry ports. This follows last September’s Cabinet approval for the creation of duty free shops in airport arrivals zones, land borders, and seaports.

Driven by a strong performance in the all-important fragrances category, Aelia Duty Free (Lagardère Travel Retail) turned in stellar results at King Khalid International Airport {Photo: Martin Moodie}
2022 was a landmark year for King Khalid International Airport, as it consistently reported recovery numbers that outstripped most international rivals

KKIA’s passenger growth came on the back of 28 new services to 22 countries and ten new destinations launched in 2022.

Riyadh Airports Company Commercial Group VP Abdulaziz Al Asaker* said: “We are absolutely delighted with the very strong international passenger growth, and the growing trajectory we have seen through the second half of the year.

“With our continued route network expansion plans into 2023, we anticipate continued strong growth. Domestic passenger numbers are building back nicely too and we expect to see further solid growth this year.

“The commercial sales growth is excellent and we have delivered the best-ever levels in all categories. This is the result of close collaboration with our partners and we will continue to build on these partnerships in 2023.”

* As reported, Abdulaziz Al Asaker’s key role in KKIA’s commercial success was recognised recently when he was named Commercial Group VP at Riyadh Airports Company. Al Asaker was formerly Commercial Group Acting VP. ✈

Abdulaziz Al Asaker was the subject of the keynote interview in the Saudi Travel & Tourism Ecosystem report last year. Click here to read.

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