New Jeddah airport to be ready in 2015

Updated 30 May 2013

New Jeddah airport to be ready in 2015

Expansion works on King Abdulaziz International Airport are 45 percent complete, said Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal. Prince Khaled expects the airport to begin operating in 2015.
During an inspection tour of the project, the governor was briefed on airport projects, which include works on transportation facilities, airport entrances, travelers’ lounges, the tower building, subways and parking lots.
“SR 27 billion was allocated for the first phase of the project that will accommodate 30 million passengers,” said Prince Khaled.
The airport buildings include 46 gates to accommodate 92 airplanes simultaneously, with more than 24,000 personnel working around the clock on weekdays.
The project is currently the biggest in Jeddah. Infrastructure works on sewage, flood prevention, desalinated water and electricity will be completed once the other projects are completed.
Prince Khaled said: “Major projects are progressing according to their time frame. This does not mean we have forgotten smaller projects. They have our support for full implementation.”
The new airport is one of the biggest in the Middle East and Asia, located on an area of 105,000 sq. meters and equipped with several service entities and facilities.
Expanding the airport was a necessity in light of the increasing number of visitors to Jeddah each succeeding year and the development of air travel services in the region and worldwide.
The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) aspires to build one of the biggest and most important airports of the region in order to acquire a large share of transit and air travel market and become a hub linking East with West.

Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

Updated 19 April 2018

Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

  • Cliffs in Tuwaiq were formed as a result of the movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift
  • Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site

Thrill seekers and fitness gurus all over the Kingdom will be pleased to know that their choices for weekend activities have increased. 

Several tour operators in Riyadh have started offering trips to the area known as the Edge of the World, making the location more accessible than ever.

With the country’s obesity rates on the rise and many citizens growing more concerned about their physical health and stress levels, people are seeking ways to maintain their fitness without having to restrict themselves to the monotony of a gym routine.

One such solution that has steadily increased in popularity over the past year is hiking, which many have embraced as being much more exciting and fulfilling than spending hours on the treadmill. And most popular of all for hiking and other fitness activities in a natural setting is the magnificent landmark of Jabal Fihrayn, more commonly known as the Edge of the World.

Described as a “window framed by rock,” the Edge of the World offers stunning views of the valley below, a lush grove of acacia trees teeming with wildlife and vegetation. The spot is well-known for being a favorite of visiting picnickers.

Hikers can choose from several trails of varying levels of difficulty, making their way to the top of the Tuwaiq escarpment to take in the magnificent views at the top of the trail, where the colossal cliff faces drop off to reveal the dizzying height from the valley below. In addition to the rich wildlife unique to the location, you can also find samples of fossilized coral and raw mineral deposits in certain areas of the valley.

The cliffs in the areas were formed as a result of the tectonic movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift situated 1,000 km to the west of Tuwaiq.

Due to the increasing popularity of the site, the authorities have built a hardtop that leads to the gates of the sites and arrangements are in place to protect the area and its natural treasures. 

Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site. The more intrepid explorer also has the option to go alone; though past visitors recommend that solo travelers take an all-terrain, 4x4 vehicle and extra precaution. Visitors can spend the day at the site and leave before 6 p.m. (when the gates are closed for the night) or stay behind for a night of camping to enjoy the sunset and the breathtaking celestial views of a star-studded night sky.

Nora Alfard, amateur hiking enthusiast and two-time visitor to the location, was quick to offer praise about her trip. 

“The trip out there was a bit tiring, but totally worth it,” she said. “The views are stunning, and the hiking itself is not that difficult. Most people should be able to make it to the top without too much trouble.” She said she was likely to go a third time, and encouraged others to do the same.

The Edge of the World is roughly 100km northwest of Riyadh, about 1.5 hours’ drive from the capital. Visitors should be prepared for at least 30 minutes of hiking, possibly more depending on your trail and your level of fitness and experience. Previous visitors recommend bringing water and snacks, and stress the importance of dressing appropriately — hiking shoes only!


What is hiking?

Hiking means a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails in the countryside. Day hikers generally carry at least food, a map or a GPS navigation device.