Soft opening of new King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah set for May

The new King Abdul Aziz International Airport is to be officially opened in 2019.
Updated 15 May 2018

Soft opening of new King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah set for May

  • 2018 will be a turning point for transportation services in the Makkah region and in line with Vision 2030

JEDDAH: King Abdul Aziz International Airport is the main gateway to the Two Holy Mosques. The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has started to carry out technical tests on the systems of travel and baggage termination, passenger bridges and various electronic systems in the presence of all relevant governmental and private sectors to ensure readiness before the soft opening.

It was decided to postpone the soft opening of the new KAIA to the end of May to conduct further technical testing, to ensure that the safety procedures, equipment and systems related in the new airport are complete.

Turki Al-Thieb, the spokesperson of KAIA, told Arab News: “The soft opening of the new airport will be in May but no specific date has been decided.”

Abdullah Al-Khurief, spokesman for GACA, said: “We decided previously to start the operation of the airport in May, confirming the completion of the construction and implementation of the necessary technical systems and equipment for the operation of the airport, which took more than seven years.”

With a capacity of 50 million passengers a year, the first phase of operation will begin this month. 

“We are talking about more than 800,000 square meters which are five to six times the current area of the airport, so gradually observations must be followed by regulations regarding airlines and different operating systems as it depends on the soft opening and to what extent the project is ready and well equipped,” Al-Khurief added.

“Numbers of gates that will be ready for the soft opening and where they will be located and how many flights there are will be decided on the day of opening,” he said.

2018 will be a turning point for transportation services in the Makkah region and in line with Vision 2030. The new KAIA and Haramain train will be operational in March-May. 

Al-Khurief said: “The soft opening is to be in May as the official opening will be in the first quarter of 2019.

Saudi capital to get world’s biggest park in $23bn project

Updated 9 min 15 sec ago

Saudi capital to get world’s biggest park in $23bn project

  • The project will see 7.5m trees planted and the creation of the world's biggest park
  • There will be 70,000 jobs created across the four major projects

RIYADH: The world’s biggest park will be created in Saudi Arabia as part of a $22.9bn project that promises to create vast open green areas in Riyadh, creating thousands of new jobs, state news agency SPA reported on Tuesday

The aim of the project is to “significantly improve the lives of its citizens, transform the city into an attractive destination and make it one of the world’s most livable cities,” the report added.

The four projects - King Salman Park, Sports Boulevard, Green Riyadh and Riyadh Art – will complement the Saudi Vision 2030’s “Quality of Life” Program and are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, to create sustainable cities and communities, while driving urgent action against climate change.

Developed with a government investment of $23 bn, the four projects will offer opportunities worth $15bn for the private sector to invest in residential, commercial, recreational and wellness projects.

As well as creating tens of thousands of new jobs, the project will also help boost efforts to improve the city’s health and wellbeing with a commitment to wellness, health, sports, culture and the arts, underpinned by a commitment to environmental sustainability.

Measuring 13.4 square kilometers, King Salman Park will be the world’s biggest park, with residential areas, hotels, and will also feature a Royal Arts Complex, theaters, museums, cinemas, sports venues, water features, restaurants and an 18-hole Royal Golf Course.

The park will also boast several landmark assets, including the Riyadh Fountains and a Vertical Garden. As an environmentally sustainable urban development, it will offer opportunities for the international community in arts, entertainment and culture.


One of the world’s largest urban greening projects, Green Riyadh will increase Riyadh’s green cover with 7.5 million trees.

The massive planting project will help increase the city’s green cover from 1.5 percent of Riyadh’s total area to 9.1 percent – that’s approximately 541 square kilometers, by 2030.


Green space availability will increase to 28 square meters per capita from the current 1.7 square meters per capita, compared to the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 9 square meters per capita.

Green Riyadh will help reduce average ambient temperature by 2C, and will use more than 1 million cubic meters of treated sewage effluent daily for irrigation, for the sustainability of water resources in the city.


Sports Boulevard  - a health and wellness destination in the heart of the city- will feature a 135 kilometer-long professional cycling track covering the city and the surrounding valleys, the first of its kind in the region.

Adding 3.5 million square meters of new open space across the city, this grand project will also feature a sports pavilion, riding stables and athletics tracks.

Riyadh Art will be the world’s largest government investment in public art and will establish the city as “a gallery without walls” through a world-class interactive public arts program.

With 1,000 artworks curated through 10 separate programs and an annual arts festival, this project will feature large-scale art works with the aim of drawing art lovers and creators from around the world.

The projects are part of Saudi Arbia’s strategy to meet their Vision 2030 goals, they are expected to provide 70,000 new job opportunities.

Construction work is due to start in the second half of 2019.