Saudi Arabia is hatching plans to increase airport capacity across the country as international airlines expand to second tier cities and increase frequencies to and from the country.
There are four international airports in Saudi Arabia, located in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Madinah. There are long-term expansion plans at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, which will accommodate more than 30m passengers annually in the future. The annual capacity of Riyadh Airport will also increase, rising to 35m passengers after the opening of its fifth terminal.
Looking to domestic airports, the GACA has seen passenger numbers rise as Air Arabia, Flydubai, Qatar Airways, Felix Airways, EgyptAir, and Turkish Airlines increase operations to domestic facilities across the Kingdom. In 2012 total passenger throughput at smaller airports hit an estimated 1.1m passengers, prompting upgrades.
“Airports in Al-Ahsa, Najran, Taif, Hail, Tabuk, Qassim, Yanbu and Abha, have increased their capacity to accommodate airliners coming from Gulf and Arab countries, in addition to Turkish Airlines,” said Khalid Al-Khaibari, official spokesman of General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) in Saudi Arabia.
In order to cater for increasing passenger traffic, there are fresh plans to increase capacity at King Abdullah Airport in Jazan to 4m passengers per year, Abha airport to 5m passengers, and Prince Naif Airport to 2.5m.