The government has allocated SR 2,000 million ($533 million) for the expansion programme, which aims to raise the capacity of the kingdom’s second largest airport from 12 million to 21 million passengers a year. The scope of work involves the construction of two new terminals for domestic and international flights, and the construction of boarding lounges, passenger gangways and two parking lots with a total capacity of 5,700 cars.

The government originally proposed tendering the expansion programme as a build-operate-transfer (BOT) project, but is now understood to favour an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) model. However, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Defence & Aviation Minister Prince Sultan has indicated that some element of private financing may still be required.

Jeddah handles about 80 per cent of air traffic during the annual hajj, and 40 per cent of annual air passenger traffic in the kingdom, which has 26 airports in total. Last year over 13 million passengers used King Abdulaziz airport, and that figure is projected to rise to 21 million by 2020.