Saudi Arabia starts site preparation for two airports

22 November 2018
Authority says new airports will support population growth and urban development in Saudi Arabia's northern region

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (Gaca) has undertaken a cornerstone laying ceremony for two domestic airport projects on 21 November.

The first scheme is the redevelopment of a domestic airport in the kingdom’s northern Al-Jouf region. The second one is in Qurayyat, also located in Al-Jouf.

According to Gaca, Al-Jouf airport will have the capacity to handle one million passengers annually while Qurayyat airport will be able to accommodate half a million passengers a year.

Both schemes are part of the 12 airport projects, which Gaca grouped into four different packages and tendered in 2017.

“This is a step towards reviving cities; supporting the population growth and enhancing the Kingdom’s position as an influential player in the civil aviation industry,” a Gaca statement said.

Gaca did not specify the selected contractors for both schemes.

The rest of the 12 airport projects are either under review or under procurement.

Last week, SaudiGulf Airlines, the kingdom’s second full-service carrier, signed a $2.1bn order for 10 Airbus A320/A321neo aircraft with an option to acquire 10 more.

They expect delivery to commence in the second half of 2019, at a rate of eight new aircraft a year.

“We are very optimistic about air travel in the region and Saudi Arabia,” SaudiGulf Airlines CEO Samer Majali said, citing improved access and tourism within the kingdom specifically and in the region generally.

SaudiGulf began commercial operations in October 2016.

In addition to SaudiGulf and state-backed Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), Saudi Arabia now has three low-cost carriers: Flynas, Flyadeal and Nesma Air.

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