Three more airports planned in Saudi Arabia

GACA says Qassim, Al-Jouf and Abha to add to sector developments

Five new airports in total have been planned in the last year.
Five new airports in total have been planned in the last year.

Saudi Arabia yesterday announced plans to develop another three airports to add to the two revealed last September, as the country’s massive infrastructure infrastructure continues.

The Kingdom’s General Authority of Civil Aviation said the country would add airports in Al-Jouf, Qassim and Abha to add to plans for hubs in Jazan and Taif. Abdullah Rehaimi, president of GACA, also gave brief details as to the schedules for opening recently built structures that make up the $20 billion that the country will spend in this sector over the next ten years.

"We are currently renovating runways of seven domestic airports and 95% of work has been completed," he told reporters yesterday. He said Prince Abdul Majeed Airport in Al-Ula would soon be open, with the Tabuk regional airport will be opened in the first quarter of this year, with Najran regional airport operational in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, Rehaimi reported that the Prince Muhammad International Airport in Madinah has “forty-five percent of the requirements of international operations” and recently started using Terminal 3. He expected the airport's full-scale international operation by the end of 2011.

Saudi Arabia is attempting to capitalise on its growing economy and the swelling numbers of pilgrims who visit the country each year. Rerhaimi estimated that 4.5 million foreign pilgrims visited the country last year.

These include the development of Prince Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah, which last August invited eight consortiums to bid for the main construction contract. An award is expected next month.

A major expansion project for King Abdulaziz International in Airport to expand annual capacity from 17 to 30 million passengers began last week by Saudi Binladen. 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 new airport in Jazan – King Abdullah Airport - will be situated 30km from the economic city and will have the capacity to handle up to three million passengers annually.

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