HiJazzey
Topic Author
Posts: 675
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:00 am

Saudi Airport Expansion

Tue Oct 18, 2005 1:28 pm

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.

Abha (AHB)

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.

Bisha (BHH)

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  Smile .

[Edited 2005-10-18 06:30:46]
 
Billy
Posts: 890
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2000 11:18 pm

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Tue Oct 18, 2005 5:11 pm

HiJazzy,

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
Topic Author
Posts: 675
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:00 am

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Tue Oct 18, 2005 9:14 pm

Hi Billy,

Thanks for your reply  Smile

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
Posts: 2379
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 5:07 am

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Tue Oct 18, 2005 11:20 pm

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
Topic Author
Posts: 675
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:00 am

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Tue Oct 18, 2005 11:54 pm

Hey Babybus,

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.
 
Billy
Posts: 890
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2000 11:18 pm

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Wed Oct 19, 2005 12:10 am

There is plenty land around for a new terminal. The existing terminal has serious drainage problems, so digging down is not an option - you hit raw sewerage! This is seeping into the foundations.

However, SV is expecting big things with the introduction of Arabesk. Most of them should be at JED, though it is possible that RUH will be a hub for the short term.
 
HiJazzey
Topic Author
Posts: 675
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:00 am

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Wed Oct 19, 2005 6:56 am

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.
 
BA
Posts: 10166
Joined: Fri May 19, 2000 11:06 am

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Wed Oct 19, 2005 7:12 am

HiJazzey,

Are Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, and Medina the only airports in Saudi Arabia that can get international flights? The other Saudi airports do not have passport control and immigration, correct?

So I assume Abha will become the 5th international airport in Saudi Arabia?

Are there any plans for Riyadh airport? There is a terminal that is currently not in use, correct?

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
HiJazzey
Topic Author
Posts: 675
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:00 am

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Wed Oct 19, 2005 7:41 am

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.
 
BA
Posts: 10166
Joined: Fri May 19, 2000 11:06 am

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:02 am

Quoting HiJazzey (Reply 8):
However, Abha does get seasonal international traffic.

Interesting. From where? Yemen?

[Edited 2005-10-19 01:03:58]
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
HiJazzey
Topic Author
Posts: 675
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:00 am

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:29 am

I believe they had a 1x weekly service to Cairo during the holiday seasons, not sure about other destinations.
 
SV777KiloAlpha
Posts: 250
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2003 4:11 pm

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:43 pm

BA,

Abha's only Internatioanl flights are seasonal flights (summer) from Kuwait.

 Wink
HZ-AKA
PPL since 2006
 
HiJazzey
Topic Author
Posts: 675
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:00 am

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Thu Oct 20, 2005 6:43 am

S777KiloAlpha,

I'm pretty sure they had summer flights to Cairo as well. Either way, international service is very limited.
 
User avatar
malaysia
Posts: 2616
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 1999 3:26 am

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Thu Oct 20, 2005 9:56 am

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
Topic Author
Posts: 675
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:00 am

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Thu Oct 20, 2005 11:39 am

Hi Malaysia,

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.
 
Horus
Posts: 5131
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2004 1:04 am

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Fri Oct 21, 2005 7:32 pm

Quoting HiJazzey (Reply 12):
I'm pretty sure they had summer flights to Cairo as well

Yes during July/August CAI did get SV flights from Abha, however they had 4 digit flight codes so I assumed they were either charter flights or flights for the Royal family.

Horus
EGYPT: A 7,000 Year Old Civilisation
 
jsnww81
Posts: 2307
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2002 3:29 am

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:02 am

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?
 
BA
Posts: 10166
Joined: Fri May 19, 2000 11:06 am

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:51 am

Jsnww81,

The old DHR is now King Abdulaziz Air Force Base.

I'm not sure about the old airports in Riyadh and Jeddah, but I assume the same.

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
HiJazzey
Topic Author
Posts: 675
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:00 am

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Sat Oct 22, 2005 5:26 am

The old airports in Riyadh and Dhahran were turned into airforce bases, the old Jeddah airport at Kandara however was decomissioned. This is where it used to be:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Jiddah...38&spn=0.075557,0.172048&t=k&hl=en

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
Posts: 2307
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2002 3:29 am

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Sat Oct 22, 2005 6:58 am

HiJazzey -

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
Topic Author
Posts: 675
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:00 am

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Sat Oct 22, 2005 10:21 am

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)
 
mandala499
Posts: 6460
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2001 8:47 pm

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Sat Oct 22, 2005 11:04 am

What's the state of the Hajj terminal now? Have they completed the western Hajj ramp yet? And has Medina been handling Hajj flights?

Mandala499
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
 
HiJazzey
Topic Author
Posts: 675
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:00 am

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Sat Oct 22, 2005 12:18 pm

Hi Mandala,

Medina handled about 1/6 of last year's pilgrims. As far as I know, the hajj terminal (west) in Jeddah isn't complete.
 
User avatar
malaysia
Posts: 2616
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 1999 3:26 am

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:13 pm

I think that the RUH terminal, was designed by HOK in Saint Louis, I might be wrong, but its a very nice looking terminal for its time and still looks modern and big to me in person.
There Are Those Who Believe That There May Yet Be Other Airlines Who Even Now Fight To Survive Beyond The Heavens
 
babybus
Posts: 2379
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 5:07 am

RE: Saudi Airport Expansion

Sat Oct 22, 2005 11:55 pm

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.

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos