Jizan airport construction stalls

10 February 2016

Selected location holds potential for oil and gas exploration

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Civil Aviation (Gaca) is currently looking for a suitable location for the King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz in Jizan following the stoppage of construction work in January.

Gaca notified the joint venture that won the $685m contract in 2014 for the stoppage of work on 30 December 2015.

Saudi Aramco has suggested that the location where the new airport is being built may present an opportunity for oil and gas exploration activity, which prompted Gaca to issue the work stoppage notice.

Sulaiman al-Hamdan, Gaca president, has told local media that they are still in discussions with officials at Aramco and that the likely approach would be to look for another location to establish the airport. Another option being considered, Al-Hamdan said, would be to expand the existing airport to achieve the same capacity designed for the King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz airport.

The new airport was to feature a terminal building that could handle up to 2.4 million passengers annually, along with a modern cargo complex and air traffic control tower, among other facilities.

A spokesperson for the winning contractor, a joint venture comprising Safari Company, Nassir Hazza and Saudi Lebanese Modern Construction, tells MEED that they are awaiting official communication from Gaca on the options available in terms of continuing the construction work on the airport. “We started the construction work in early 2015… we are still maintaining the same resources after we were notified that the project has been put on hold,” the source tells MEED, adding that they are not letting go any of the workers allocated for the project anytime soon.

Jizan, which is located in the southern region of Saudi Arabia and close to the borders with Yemen, has an existing regional airport. The construction of a new airport is part of Gaca’s multi-billion dollar airport modernisation programme, which according to Al-Hamdan, is on track to be completed by 2020.



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