Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (Gaca) has indicated that a new terminal, Terminal 6, at the King Khalid International Airport (KKIA) in Riyadh will be developed on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis.

Terminal 6 is intended to have a design capacity to handle 35 million passengers a year, local media reports said, citing Tariq al-Jabbar, deputy for airports at Gaca.

While no details were provided in terms of the procurement timeline for the project, the announcement is consistent with Gaca’s plan to expand existing airports to accommodate rising passnger traffic. It is also in line with the goal to privatise all airports in the kingdom by 2020.

Terminal 5, which is currently undergoing a soft opening, was built by a joint venture of Turkey’s TAV and local Al-Arrab Contracting after being awarded the $430m contract in 2012.

In January, the international subsidiary of Ireland’s Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) won the five-year contract to operate and maintain (O&M) Terminal 5, which has a capacity to handle 14 million passengers annually.

The KKIA currently has three operating terminals. Terminal 4 is understood to be unused.

Terminal 5 is planned to take over Terminal 3, which currently caters to domestic flights.

KKIA handled 22.5 million passengers in 2015, up 12 per cent from the year before. It is the second busiest airport in the kingdom next to Jeddah’s King Abdullah International airport (KAIA), which processed in excess of 30 million passengers last year.

KKIA Terminal Type of passenger flights catered to
1 All international flights except those operated by Air France, Saudia and Nas Air (flynas)
2 International flights of Air France, Saudia and Flynas
3* Domestic flights
4 Unused
5 Domestic flights
Source: riyad-airport.com * Terminal 3 will be decommissioned once Terminal 5 enters full operation

Overall, an estimated 81.9 million passengers passed through Saudi Arabia’s 27 international and domestic airports in 2015, nearly 10 per cent higher compared to the previous year.