Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) is building three new airports in Jazan, Abha and Al Qasim to add capacity to handle 7.3 million more passengers each year, a senior official said.
The new airports are part of an overall investment of USD 10.66 billion in the aviation infrastructure sector, the official told Zawya in a phone interview on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to media.
The number of passengers handled by Saudi Arabian airports reached 54.46 million in 2011, an increase of 13.5% over 2010's 47.95 million, and 25.3 % over 2008's 42.31 million, documents sent to Zawya show.
The number of flights at Saudi airports increased by 6.2% in 2011 to reach 477,002
The number of flights at Saudi airports increased by 6.2% in 2011 to reach 477,002, compared with the previous year's 449,016 operations, and by 16.9% compared with 2008's 407,987 operations.
The volume of cargo and mail in 2011 was 641,896 tons, 13% more than the volume in 2010 (567,566 tons) and 16% more than in 2008 (552,811 tons).
Saudi Arabia has 34 airport-related projects being implemented at a total cost of about $666 million, in addition to the development of new airports for $10.66 billion
Saudi Arabia currently has 34 airport-related projects being implemented at a total cost of about USD 666 million, in addition to the development of new airports for USD 10.66 billion until 2030, according to GACA data.
Domestic aviation has been increasing rapidly in the kingdom, adding to the pressure to develop infrastructure, Turky Bany, general secretary of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the Northern Province, told Zawya. Internal passenger traffic has increased by 19% in 2011 compared to 2010, and the movement of goods by 12% in the same period, Bany said.
"There is a long-term gain in the strategy to develop domestic airport infrastructure. And offering [their development] as public-private partnerships will improve the investment climate," Bany said.
The Three New Airports
GACA is conducting a feasibility study on the New Abha Regional Airport, which will occupy about 62,000 square meters. It will be implemented in two phases, the first resulting in the capacity to handle 3.5 million passengers annually and the second increasing that capacity to five million passengers yearly, the official said.
A new airport in Jizan, 30 kilometers north of the existing airport, will be located between the industrial and residential parts of Jizan. The feasibility study has been completed and a public tender will be issued soon, the official told Zawya.
The new Jizan airport will add a capacity of 2.4 million passengers per year
The new Jizan airport will add a capacity of 2.4 million passengers per year. The project includes the construction of a three-storey main terminal over 52,000 square meters, with 10 gates and a VIP lounge.
The third new airport, at Al Qasim, will have a 34,000 square meter terminal building with the capacity to handle 1.4 million passengers per year. Feasibility studies have been completed and a tender will be issued soon, the official said.