A new aviation hub is to open in Saudi Arabias northern region by the second quarter of 2016.
The new hub comprises mainly the Hail domestic airport, which, similar to the other domestic airports in the neighbouring provinces, is currently served by two flights a week originating from the key cities in Saudi Arabia.
Under the ongoing initiative to convert Hail into a domestic aviation hub, Hail will serve as the main port of connection for passengers flying between the kingdoms key airports, such as Mecca and Riyadh, to the other six airports located in the northern provinces.
The domestic airports are located in the provinces of Turaif, Arar, Rafha, Al-Jouf, Tabuk and Qaisumah.
Newly licensed Nesma Airlines will be based in the Hail aviation hub and will be operating daily flights between the domestic airports.
The new hub is expected to provide greater accessibility to the kingdoms less developed region.
These routes were being previously served only by two flights per week and these flights were always, which makes it impossible to accommodate growing demand, Base Abdullah Alsallom, general manager for marketing at the General Authority for Civil Aviation (Gaca), tells MEED. With the new hub we will be pushing daily passenger traffic to Hail, which will then distribute them to the seven domestic airports.
It is expected that Nesma Airlines flights from Hail to the neighbouring provinces will take an average 30 minutes.
Alsallom says all airport projects awarded by Gaca will not be affected by the budget cuts to be implemented by Riyadh this year.
The executive further cited that no major changes are expected in terms of future project awards. We wil find a way to secure the budget for all essential projects, he said.
According to regional projects tracker MEED Projects, an estimated $4bn-worth of contracts mostly for the expansion of existing domestic airports, is scheduled for award in the kingdom between 2016 and 2020.
|Airports||Provinces||Budget ($m)||Status||Expected year of award|
|Taif International||Mecca||1,000||Main contract PQ||2016|
|Prince Abdulmohsin bin Abdulaziz airport expansion||Al-Madinah Province||350||Design||2016|
|Qaisumah domestic airport expansion||Eastern Province||300||Design||2016|
|Rafha domestic airport expansion||Northern Borders Province||300||Design||2016|
|Turaif domestic airport expansion||Northern Borders Province||300||Design||2016|
|Al-Jouf domestic airport expansion||Al-Jouf||223||Main contract bid||2016|
|Al-Ahsa domestic airport expansion||Eastern Province||300||Design||2017|
|Al-Wajh domestic airport expansion||Tabuk||300||Design||2017|
|Sharurah domestic airport expansion||Najran||300||Design||2017|
|Wadi al-Dawasir domestic airport expansion||Riyadh||300||Design||2017|
|Qurayyat domestic airport expansion||Al-Jouf||140||Design||2016|
|Al-Baha domestic airport expansion||Al-Bahah Province||97||Main contract bid||2016|
|PQ=Prequalification. Source: MEED Projects|