All domestic flights from Jeddah to shift to new airport this year

The King Abdulaziz International Airport had a soft launch in May 2018

Flights to all domestic destinations from the Saudi city of Jeddah will be operated through the city’s new airport from mid-2019, local media reported, citing the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).

Jeddah’s new King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) had a soft launch in May 2018, with the official opening scheduled for the first half of 2019.

Local Arabic daily Al-Madina quoted the GACA as saying that it was not an unusual practice to operate the airport partially.

“This is rather an international practice,” it said in a statement.

Read: Jeddah’s new airport welcomes first commercial flight

Last month, a GACA official confirmed that the it was planning to appoint a new private-sector operator for the airport in the second half of next year.

The new operator will be appointed following the official inauguration of the new airport terminal, an official told Arab News.

Read: Saudi to appoint new private-sector operator for Jeddah airport in 2019

GACA terminated a concession agreement with a consortium consisting of Singapore’s Changi Airports International and Saudi Naval Support Company to operate the Jeddah airport in February last year.

GACA had awarded the 20-year contract in April 2017. It did not give a reason for the cancellation.

The new Jeddah airport is expected to boost economic development in the country when completely operational.

When fully open, the airport will operate 46 gates, and is designed to serve about 30 million passengers annually.

Spread across 27,987 square metres, the airport will also have 220 check-in counters for all flights, 80 self-service counters and five lounges for premium passengers.

It will be a “world-class resource” and “a projection of the kingdom’s ambitions to the world,” Abdulhakim Al-Tamimi, president of GACA, said last year.

“The airport provides a platform that will allow the kingdom to play a greater role as a regional hub for transport and logistics services, and support the growing number of pilgrims to the two holy mosques,” he added.