Expansion work on Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) is more than 69 per cent complete, and the new project is expected to begin operations in early 2016, according to a senior official.
Prince Fahd bin Abdullah, president of the Kingdom’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) told Arab News that the project was proceeding in line with GACA’s 2020 strategy, which seeks to develop the country’s 27 domestic, regional and international airports.
“GACA aims to expand the role of local and foreign companies in several projects, while enhancing safety and security standards,” he said. “Our plans will meet the market needs for air traffic services in the Kingdom until 2040.”
The new KAIA project in Jeddah will include a twin crescent-shaped 670,000 sqm passenger terminal complex, 46 contact gates, 94 boarding bridges, including double deck A380 access, lounges, an airside hotel and catering and retail facilities.
It will also include a transportation centre with an integrated rail station, over 60 km of belts to handle luggage, and a network on other transport facilities.
The project’s masterplan includes development in three phases to 2035, with phase 1 expected to increase the airport’s capacity from 13 to 30 million annual passengers. When fully complete, the airport’s final capacity is slated to reach up to 80 million passengers per year.
Apart from the Jeddah airport, the Kingdom is also growing other airports across the country – Riyadh’s King Khaled International Airport’s expansion project is set to boost capacity to 35 million passengers annually in its first phase and 47 million in the second phase. The project is set for completion in 2017.
The Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah and airports in Jazan, Bha, Qassim Arar, Al Jouf and Yanbu are also currently undergoing expansion work.
By 2020, Saudi Arabia’s airports are expected to have the combined capacity to handle over 100 million travelers.