HiJazzey From Saudi Arabia, joined Sep 2005, 788 posts, RR: 1 Posted (7 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 2813 times:
I'm not sure whether people here have much interest about Saudi aviation, but since it's an under-reported region, I reckon it might be good to keep people up to date.
After years of tight budgets, the government finally has the cash to spend on much needed infrastructure thanks to high oil prices. Aviation infrastructure is one such sector in need of upgrade. I'll describe the projects seperately, with most important first:
Jeddah Airport (JED):
Jeddah airport expansion is the highest priority project for the Presidency of Civil Aviation, as the airport is in desperate need for refurbishment and upgrade. The airport has been a disaster from the day it opened in 1981, but with traffic (14 million +) exceeding design capacity (12 million) it has become worse than ever. In 2000, plans were made to upgrade the airport by expanding and transforming the south terminal into a modern 32 gate terminal, with a capacity of 21 million. However the project was continuously put back until it was finally shelved last year. Now, the government is embarking on a new plan. They have invited tenders for the construction of a brand new terminal in a different location within the airport. The terminal is to replace the current terminals, and have a capacity of 30 million passengers/annum with provision for expansion to 60 million passengers. "After the new airport development works have been completed and operations have been transferred to the new terminal complex, the existing passenger terminals, they may be re-used for many other purposes" (improved cargo facilities perhaps?) .
The project will be done on a Build Operate Transfer basis.
According to local papers, the government received 6 bids in August. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2006 and completion 2010. Cost is estimated at $1.5 billion
In the meantime, stop-gap improvements are being made to the current terminals to keep them going. Also, work has begun on completing the western section of the Hajj terminal, with four new boarding units built on a BOT basis.
Medina airport (MED)
There are firm plans to turn Medina into Saudi Arabia's 4th full international airport. Studies are being made to build a new state of the art terminal and upgrade airside facilities. The airport is expected to handle an extra 1 million (from the current 460 thousand) international passenger movements (mostly to/from arabic and islamic countries) once completed raising the overall expected traffic to about 3 million (currently 1.6 million). The new airport, should be open to foreign operators.
There are plans to build a second runway, to aid crosswind operations. There also plans to build a seperate international section to allow the airport to serve regional gulf destinations.
Airside facilities are to be upgraded, with new cargo/mail facilities, extra apron space (3 planes at once), and enlarged passenger lounge (400 passengers).
That's pretty much it. I hope these projects make for functional and pleasant airports .
Billy From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2000, 895 posts, RR: 8 Reply 1, posted (7 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2765 times:
I am working with the PCA on projects in the Kingdom. The plans for JED are extremely ambitious and not realistic, according to the plans that I have seen. Even the PCA are very sceptical about the proposals.
Before much more can be done with the airports they need to be either privatised or commercialised. PCA is going through this process starting with KFIA, followed by RUH.
Medina is being expanded to try and remove some of the pressure on JED.
Interestingly the JED expansion plans do not recognise the need for connecting traffic (even with Arabesk) so it is not much further forward. As you will know JED is a useless airport for hubbing.
HiJazzey From Saudi Arabia, joined Sep 2005, 788 posts, RR: 1 Reply 2, posted (7 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 2724 times:
Thanks for your reply
Regarding JED , I'm dissapointed to hear that although I'm not surprised. Public projects in Jeddah in particular have the tendency to become farcical (Jeddah stadium anyone?). So Jeddawis are pretty cynical about it seeing the light of day. I held a similar view although it was tempered when I learned that contracts have been signed with an engineering firm to begin work on it. But of course that doesn't mean much.
I'm very surprised however about the lack of transfer facilities. Surely it's not difficult to implement in a single terminal.
BTW can you shed some light into the design? I haven't seen anything other than the old NACO design renderings.
Babybus From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 3514 posts, RR: 6 Reply 3, posted (7 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2683 times:
When I lived in Jeddah the scheme considered then was to link the two terminals with a pier or two. Both terminals would be upgraded with gates and better passenger facilities.
The idea of a brand new terminal within the airport grounds seems a little excessive.
I find it hard to believe that Abha (one of my favourite cities) needs a second runway merely to handle crosswind conditions. I lived next to the runway and in all that time I never once saw a plane experiencing noticable handling problems.
and with that..cabin crew, seats for landing please.
HiJazzey From Saudi Arabia, joined Sep 2005, 788 posts, RR: 1 Reply 4, posted (7 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2668 times:
It is excessive, but I guess they're keen to work with clean slate than get bogged down in trying to salvage anything from those sorry excuses of terminals we currently have. Also building a new terminal causes less disruption than upgrading a current one. Personally, as long as they find a use for the old infrastructure once they're done, I'm happy. One possibility in my head is for NAS to move from the general aviation terminal to one of the old terminals, particularly since they're now offering scheduled services. A refurbished north terminal would be perfect for them.
As for Abha, I really don't know. I've never been there, so I can't tell. But that's what they've been saying.
HiJazzey From Saudi Arabia, joined Sep 2005, 788 posts, RR: 1 Reply 6, posted (7 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 2564 times:
It's not drainage it's ground water. The water table has been rising alarmingly in Jeddah thanks to geology and the use of septic tanks. It's pretty disgusting really. The problem is most pronounced near the airport because it is low lying. The area where the Jeddah exhibition centre (where the old car plant was) is worst. There are pumps dotted around Jeddah to pump the ground water into the sea! The pipes you see running parallel to streets such as Sari street are the drainage pipes.
HiJazzey From Saudi Arabia, joined Sep 2005, 788 posts, RR: 1 Reply 8, posted (7 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 2536 times:
At the moment only Riyadh, Jiddah, Dammam and Medina have regular international service. However, Abha does get seasonal international traffic.
But yeah, all the domestic/regional airports in Saudi are pretty limited.
Malaysia From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 3185 posts, RR: 0 Reply 13, posted (7 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 2348 times:
Last time I was in JED, it was like a IAD copy but with beat up plane movers, but I was quite surprised I didnt seem to see any possible way to connect from airline to airline without transit. Either way I was on SV the whole time, but
just wondered about using another airline. I guess it seems the govt does not want people using its airports to connect internationally between two different carriers other than SV. it seemed like you could easily do it at RUH, when I was there such as SV to TW? but I may be wrong
There Are Those Who Believe That There May Yet Be Other Airlines Who Even Now Fight To Survive Beyond The Heavens
HiJazzey From Saudi Arabia, joined Sep 2005, 788 posts, RR: 1 Reply 14, posted (7 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 2341 times:
You should be able to connect at RUH and DMM. JED is a different matter. It wasn't intentional though. The "new" Jeddah airport was originally devised in the late 60s. In the original plans, the north terminal was to be the Hajj terminal, and the south terminal was the only regular terminal. By the mid-70s it became clear that the design was inadequate, and so they produced the fudge we have today (South for Saudia, North for others + a massive tented hajj terminal). It was out of date the day it opened in 1981.
Jsnww81 From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1859 posts, RR: 17 Reply 16, posted (7 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2238 times:
Good to see the Saudis finally doing something about the very embarrassing terminal buildings at JED.
I've always found it interesting that JED and RUH opened just two years apart, yet the difference between them is like night and day. JED has lots of room on the airfield, but the terminal buildings look so small and outdated. RUH, on the other hand, is huge and has four giant terminal buildings, although I think one of them is closed. If only they could move that vacant RUH terminal over to JED!
On a somewhat-related topic, what happened to the old airports at Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhahran? I did a quick search on Google Maps, and the old RUH and DHR appear to be intact - all the runways are still there. Are they now being used as military bases? I can't find the old Jeddah airport. Where was it? Has it been completely demolished?
As you can see, the remains of the runway and taxiways were turned into roads. There were plans to turn this big gap in the centre town into a large public park (ala central park) but in the end it was given away to property developers who've divided the plots and sold them piecemeal. The last plots were auctioned last may for a considerable amount of money.
As to what still survives from the airport, the pilgrims building is still around, as some other terminal side facilities. Heck, Matar street (old airport road) still has signs for the old airport!
Jsnww81 From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1859 posts, RR: 17 Reply 19, posted (7 years 7 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 2169 times:
Thanks for the tip. I can see the old airport now. Interesting how they pretty much put a street down the middle of the old main runway. Looks like the old airport was surrounded by the city - no wonder they built a new facility.
Why exactly why the new DMM airport built to replace DHR? It looks like there was plenty of room to expand DHR.
HiJazzey From Saudi Arabia, joined Sep 2005, 788 posts, RR: 1 Reply 20, posted (7 years 7 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 2135 times:
The rationale behind Dammam airport was to have a brand new airport replacing both Dhahran and Jubail airports (Jubail is only about 100kms north of Dammam) that was convenient for both communities (it ended up being inconvenient for both)
Babybus From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 3514 posts, RR: 6 Reply 24, posted (7 years 7 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 2071 times:
I think HiJazzy will confirm that Dammam airport is so inconvenient for locals of Dammam/ Al Khobar area that the majority of international passengers cross the bridge into Bahrain and fly from there. Better connections and a more exciting airport experience.
RUH and DMM are both very nice, almost modern, airports. What was going through their heads when they built JED?
and with that..cabin crew, seats for landing please.