Saudi King opens a $1.2billion airport

Saudi Arabia has officially launched the $1.2 billion Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport project, officials confirmed on Sunday.

The airport will span an area of 4 million square metres, and is the Kingdom’s first airport to be constructed and operated entirely by the private sector. The project was inaugurated by King Salman, in the presence of other major dignitaries from the kingdom.

Capacity volumes of the airport, which can handle eight million passengers a year in the first phase, will be increased to 18 million in the second phase, and 40 million after the third and final phase.

Chief of Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), Sulaiman Al Hamdan said: “This is the fruit of partnership of GACA with a consortium led by Tibah Airports Development Co. and consisting of Al Rajhi Holding Group, Saudi Oger and TAV Airports Holding.

“Ever since the airport was upgraded into an international one 10 years ago, it has witnessed steady growth in the passenger traffic with operation of 36 aviation companies, and this number will rise to 45 during the Haj season.”

The project is funded by the National Commercial Bank, Saudi British Bank and Arab National Bank under the supervision of the International Finance Authority, a member of the World Bank Group.

The main passenger terminal covers an area of 155,000 sqm, and has 72 check-in counters, of which eight are for large size baggage, 24 counters for self-check-in, 26 passports counter for departures, and the same number for arrivals.

The waiting lounge has a capacity for 4,000 people. Technology-based services include 36 elevators, 28 escalators and 23 conveyor belts, all in place to facilitate and speed up the movement of passengers and luggage inside the passenger terminal complex.

Six external terminals have been built over a total area of 10,000 sqm. These terminals are strategically located close to the Haj terminal to facilitate, and speed up procedures for arrivals and departures.