Saudi to spend $20bn on new and improved airports

KSA will build two new airports and upgrade its key international hubs

Saudi's investment in airport projects is huge. The image shows work on the KAIA airport in Jeddah. File shot by GACA.
Saudi's investment in airport projects is huge. The image shows work on the KAIA airport in Jeddah. File shot by GACA.

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Saudi Arabia’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GACA) yesterday announced plans to build two new airports in Jazan and Taif, and to also expand several existing domestic and international airports.

Abdullah Rehaimi, president of GACA, said studies are underway to construct the two new high tech airports.

Jazan’s new facility, the King Abdullah Airport – named after the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques – will be situated 30km from the economic city and will have the capacity to handle up to three million passengers annually.

GACA expects to call for tenders for the work next year once designs are complete.

The new 57km2 Taif regional airport will be located 30km northeast of the resort city – and also within relatively easy reach of Makkah (70km) and Jeddah (160km).

The airport will serve as an entry point for millions of pilgrims every year, and also play a role in helping to promote tourism to the area. Officials also believe the airport will ease pressure placed on Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, the main gateway of pilgrims.

GACA said that it would invest up to US$20 billion in developing and upgrading exisiting airports over the next 10 years. Rehaimi told reporters, “We have given top priority to the expansion of King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah.”

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAA) reported that it had transported over two million passengers during Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr seasons.

Addressing SAA employees at an Eid Al-Fitr ceremony at the company headquarters, Khaled Almolhem, SAA's Director General said some 13,000 scheduled and extra flights transported the large number of passengers.

“We had planned well for the work pressure during this period of time and succeeded in meeting the huge demand,” Almolhem said in a press statement.

Almolhem expects his company to transport over a million Hajj pilgrims this year.


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