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Saudi Arabia To Invest $7.2 Billion In Jeddah's Airport Expansion

posted 2 Sept 2013, 05:50 by Mpelembe   [ updated 2 Sept 2013, 05:52 ]

More than 20,000 workers are working round the clock to meet the deadline for the expansion of the King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah - the main gateway for pilgrims travelling to Mecca for the annual haj. The three-phase airport expansion is expected to handle 70-80 million passengers every year and is estimated to cost a total of 7.2 billions U.S. dollars.

JEDDAHSAUDI ARABIA (RECENT) (KING ABDULAZIZ INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTADMINISTRATION HANDOUT) -  Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in infrastructure projects, revamping many of its airports to cater to growing passenger traffic.

The latest of these projects is the 27 billion rivals (7.2 billion U.S. dollars) development of Jeddah'sKing Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA).

The airport, whose development is scheduled to complete by the end of 2014, is located at the kingdom's second largest city and its leading commercial centre.

The airport expansion will be completed through a three-phase development entailing a passenger terminal complex, a state-of-the-art facility spread over a spectacular twin crescent footprint, 46 contact gates, 94 boarding bridges, including double deck A380 access and a class-leading lounges as well as airside hotel.

"The area of the new passengers terminal that is being worked on now is within the limits of 720,000 square meters, and there are 46 gates, each gate could accommodate two air crafts," said airport general manager Mohammad Abed.

"The total number of workers in the project is 23,500 workers and this number is expected to reach more than 30,000 workers, among them are engineers, technicians and administrators. The number of workers in the project will also increase as we come closer to the end of the project," he added.

The new gates facility will replace the existing North and South terminals and introduce new levels of comfort and convenience for passengers, according to General Authority of Civil Aviation(GACA).

Areen Design, alongside Arup and Atkins, make up the British consultancy team leading the design of the new terminal.

The new airport will include class-leading lounges, indoor gardens, high-speed rail link and improved transportation centre.

The project also aims to invest highly on environmental aspects through making use of recycled materials, major clean up, construction design, and reduced water consumption.

This policy is is derived to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Silver status for the project.

Jeddah is also the entry point for pilgrims coming to Mecca for the annual haj pilgrimage, making it an international hub.

Opened in 1981, KAIA is the second-busiest airport in the Middle East in terms of passenger traffic after Dubai.

The Saudi Bin Ladin Group (SBG), the country's biggest construction company, is the main contractor on the project, along with many other international subcontractors and suppliers.

The project was backed by the kingdom's ministry of finance.

Top OPEC oil exporter Saudi Arabia plans to spend billions of riyals in coming decades to overhaul some of its airports.

In March, the kingdom's civil aviation authority said traffic at Saudi airports had reached 30 million passengers annually and was expected to double to 60 million over 10 years.