Construction on Jeddah airport will start tomorrow

Saudi Binladin is hoping to complete the upgrade within three years

The upgrade will involve building a new terminal as well as the world's largest airport control tower.
The upgrade will involve building a new terminal as well as the world's largest airport control tower.

Renovation of Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz International Airport will begin tomorrow, according to an official close to the project.

Speaking to the Saudi Gazette, Waleed Al-Humaidi, assistant deputy of the Makkah Emirate for Development, said the first stone would be laid today with a view to completing the project in three years.

The upgrade, he added, would focus on new terminals and on repairing the existing terminals’ decaying infrastructure, allowing the airport to cater for 35 million passengers annually - doubling the existing passenger handling capacity of 17 million per year.

In November, Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defence and aviation, awarded the main construction contract worth SR27 billion to the Saudi Binladin Group.

The first phase of the contract, worth SR15.12 billion, will include construction of a 670,000m2 terminal with 94 aircraft bays.

The terminal will include 46 additional departure gates, 96 airway bridges 200 new counters, a luggage-handling system, five passenger lounges and a 56-room hotel.

The second part, worth SR11.97 billion, will see Saudi Binladin build a 133m airport control tower, the world’s tallest control tower, alongside an 8,200-capacity carpark, three power generation and cooling centres, data administration centers, infrastructure and road networks.

Other features of the new airport will include tunnels, corridors, train stations and communications systems; new taxiways, aprons, roads and support facilities.

According to aviation officials, on completion, the new, high-tech airport, designed to accommodate a growing number of travellers in the Kingdom, including pilgrims, will become one of the major international airports in the Middle East.

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