Jeddah's new airport welcomes first commercial flight

The new airport is a major milestone for Saudi Arabia and will help meet the goals of Vision 2030 to support and drive the Kingdom’s economic development.
Updated 29 May 2018
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Jeddah's new airport welcomes first commercial flight

  • The airport’s “soft launch” will be completed in four phases to ensure it is fully functional and employees are fully trained ahead of the facility’s official opening early next year
  • Additional gates will open in line with the growth in capacity, with a focus on passenger security and safety

The first commercial flight to land at the new King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah has signaled a major milestone for the facility, due to open early next year.

Operations are being phased in at the airport, with the commercial flight welcomed by a General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) senior management team on Tuesday.

The airport’s “soft launch” will be completed in four phases to ensure it is fully functional and employees are fully trained ahead of the facility’s official opening early next year.

When it opens the airport will operate 46 gates, but during the soft launch a limited number of flights will be managed through six gates. 

Additional gates will open in line with the growth in capacity, with a focus on passenger security and safety. 

The GACA’s approach is designed to avoid issues faced by other international airports that opened for operations before they were ready.

Abdulhakim bin Muhammad Al-Tamimi, GACA’s president, said: “The new airport is a major milestone for Saudi Arabia and will help meet the goals of Vision 2030 to support and drive the Kingdom’s economic development. The airport provides a platform that will allow the Kingdom to play a greater role as a regional hub for transport and logistics services, and support the growing number of pilgrims to the Two Holy Mosques.”

Referring to the phasing in of operations, Al-Tamimi said this was a responsible approach adopted by most major infrastructure projects in the world.

“Delivering world-class security, safety and customer experience for all our passengers is at the heart of the vision of new GACA and we will achieve this by testing facilities in a controlled and disciplined manner.

“Our measure of success is not to have everything running perfectly on day one but to ensure that we are prepared for the full operational launch in 2019,” he said.

Al-Tamimi expressed his gratitude to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their support of the civil aviation sector and the new airport.

He also thanked Makkah Gov. Prince Khalid Al-Faisal and Makkah Deputy Gov. Prince Abdullah bin Bandar for their help in completing operational requirements at the airport.

The new airport will be a world-class resource and “a projection of the Kingdom’s ambitions to the world,” Al-Tamimi said. 


Investigation into alleged mistakes in Yemen find coalition forces acted properly

Updated 17 January 2019
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Investigation into alleged mistakes in Yemen find coalition forces acted properly

JEDDAH: The Joint Incident Assessment Team in Yemen (JIAT) has investigated four allegations made by international governmental and non-governmental organizations and media about mistakes made by coalition forces while carrying out military operations inside Yemen.
JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour said that the team concluded that the procedures followed by the coalition forces were proper and safe, taking into consideration the rules of engagement, international humanitarian law and the coalition’s own rules.
Team members visited a number of cities in Yemen, including Aden, Lahj and Khor Maksar, during the investigation and spoke to witnesses, victims and their families to gather evidence and establish the facts.
In one of the incidents that was investigated, coalition warship fired on and destroyed a craft in the waters off the Yemeni port of Al-Khokha in September. Al-Mansour said that after examining documents and evidence JIAT had concluded that an alliance ship was escorting and protecting a flotilla of three Saudi merchant ships when, in an area off the port of Al-Khokha, a boat was spotted approaching the convoy at a high speed from the direction of the Yemeni coast.
The escort ship followed the accepted rules of engagement by repeatedly warning the unidentified vessel, using loudspeakers, not to come any closer. When these went unheeded, warning shots were fired but the boat continued to approach.
“On reaching an area that represented a threat to the convoy, the protection ship tackled the boat according to the rules of engagement and targeted it, resulting in an explosion on the boat,” said Al-Mansour. “The protection ship continued escorting the convoy. After the escort task was completed, the protection ship returned to the site of the targeted boat to carry out a search-and-rescue operation for the crew of the target boat but no one was found.”