Domestic airports to be developed to meet growing passenger traffic

Updated 10 April 2014

Domestic airports to be developed to meet growing passenger traffic

The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) plans to develop domestic airports to enable them operate additional flights to meet growing passenger demand.
“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 GACA.
“The Kingdom has four major international airports in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Madinah that receive international flights from all over the world,” he said.
“There were more than 1.1 million international travelers passing through domestic airports in 2012,” he said. “New airline companies are targeting destinations popular with Saudis and expats, including Dubai, Istanbul, Cairo, Sharjah and Doha.”
“There will be more options for domestic passengers, especially in Riyadh and Jeddah,” he said. “The development of airports across the Kingdom will undoubtedly lead to a rise in the number of passengers in the long run.”
King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, for instance, will accommodate more than 30 million passengers annually. A demo operation of the new plan will operate in 2015, he said. “The annual capacity of Riyadh Airport will also increase to 35 million passengers after the opening of its fifth terminal.”
There are plans to increase the capacity of King Abdullah Airport in Jazan to be able to accommodate 4 million passengers, in addition to 5 million yearly travelers at Abha airport and 2.5 million at Prince Naif Airport in Qassim.
Tabuk and Najran airports will accommodate 2.9 million passengers a year after expansions.
Turkish Airlines now arrives and departs from seven Saudi airports. Other airlines are Air Arabia, Flydubai, Qatar Airways, Felix Airways and EgyptAir, which operate from domestic airports both in the north and south.
Many Saudis and residents in the Kingdom fly to Dubai and other destinations using these airlines, then onward to other destinations in Asia and Europe.
The GACA approved five weekly flights of Air Arabia at Najran airport and one flight a day of EgyptAir.
The authority has also approved one daily flight to Sharjah on Air Arabia at Al-Ahsa airport and is studying requests made by other airliners to fly from the airport.
Saudia, on the other hand, launched its first nonstop flight from King Fahd International Airport (KFIA) in Dammam to Istanbul on Friday.

Peace is our priority but the world must take a stand against Iran, says Saudi cabinet

Updated 24 min 45 sec ago

Peace is our priority but the world must take a stand against Iran, says Saudi cabinet

  • Saudi cabinet says the international community must take firm action against the regime in Tehran
  • Saudi’s king invites GCC leaders to hold Gulf and Arab summits in Makkah on May 30

JEDDAH: The Saudi cabinet on Tuesday said that while the Kingdom believes all people in the region have a right to live in peace, including the Iranians, the international community must take firm action against the regime in Tehran to prevent it from spreading destruction and chaos.

After a meeting of the Council of Ministers at Assalam Palace, presided over by King Salman, Turki Al-Shabanah, the minister of media, told the Saudi Press Agency that the cabinet reviewed reports on regional and global development, and the king invited GCC leaders to hold Gulf and Arab summits in Makkah on May 30. The invitation reflects the Kingdom’s desire to work with other nations to boost security and stability in the region, the minister said, especially in light of the Iran’s continuing aggressive actions. The regime’s recent activities threaten regional and international peace and security, and the supply and stability of international oil markets, he added.

Al-Shabanah reiterated the Kingdom’s commitment to peace and said it will make every effort to prevent war. The nation’s hand is always extended, he added, in the belief that everyone in the region, including the Iranians, has the right to live in a secure and stable environment.

However, the cabinet called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities by taking a firm stance against the actions of the regime in Tehran, to prevent its disruptive and destructive activities throughout the world. It also called on Iran to halt the reckless and irresponsible behavior of its agents, to save the region from the dangers they pose and potential repercussions.

The cabinet also expressed the Kingdom’s hopes and expectations that the 14th Ordinary Session of the Islamic Summit Conference, will encourage unity of response to ongoing events in the Islamic world. The summit, chaired by King Salman, will be held in Makkah on May 31 under the title “Makkah Summit: Hand in Hand toward the Future.”

Ministers heard that the Kingdom has sent $250 million to the Central Bank of Sudan as part of a previously announced package of assistance in partnership with the United Arab Emirates. This latest demonstration of support from the Kingdom to the Sudanese people aims to help stabilize the country’s economy, and strengthen the Sudanese pound in particular, to help improve the lives of the nation’s people.

The cabinet also welcomed the decision of the 14th meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee to monitor an oil production reduction agreement concluded in Jeddah, which was headed by the Kingdom and Russia, and affirmed its commitment to balancing the oil market and stabilizing it on a sustainable basis.

Turning to local affairs, the Council of Ministers confirmed the generous support of SR 100 million ($26.7 million) from the king, and SR 30 million from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the Jood Housing platform. Launched a day earlier, and supervised by the National Housing Development Association, it aims to accelerate the development process through the introduction of a new model of social solidarity, in which government, charities and commercial entities work together in accordance with regulations designed to provide support for those in need.

The council also discussed the results of the 26th meeting of the region’s governors, and praised the king for his directives designed to preserve security and help people throughout the Kingdom.