New Jeddah airport to be ready by mid-2017
New Jeddah airport to be ready by mid-2017
Construction on the new facility and testing of all equipment would be completed at the end of 2016, said Sulaiman Al-Hamdan, GACA’s director general and chairman of Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), a local publication reported Friday.
Al-Hamdan on Thursday laid the foundation stone for a new Saudia building in the support area next to the airport’s new building. Saleh Al-Jasser, director general of Saudia, was also present at the ceremony.
At a press conference later on Thursday in the operations building, Al-Jasser said the SR350 million Saudia facility would also be ready by mid-2017, as part of its strategic program that includes fleet development, expansion of its flight network, and installation of the latest information technology.
Al-Jasser said the new building would allow Saudia to administer all operations under one roof. The plan is eventually to increase the number of flights from 500 to 1,000 a day, which would be one of the highest airline operations in the world, he said.
He said the Kingdom’s airports would increase the number of passengers they handle from the current figure of 28 million to 45 million by 2020, a goal that has been laid down in GACA’s operational plan.
On privatization, he said Saudia has taken significant steps in certain areas including supplies and types of services, and setting up companies with shares owned by the public.
Al-Jasser said the entry of a third airline company in Saudi Arabia was no problem for Saudia and would be good for competition. He was referring to the plan by Qatar Airways to launch Al-Maha airline company to operate along local routes in the Kingdom.
Al-Maha would reportedly initially operate flights from Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam, Madinah, Abha and Qassim. Qatar Airways already operates international flights between Doha and Riyadh, Dammam, Jeddah, Taif, Qassim, Al-Ahsa and Madinah.
We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh
- We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States: US Public Affairs Counselor in KSA
RIYADH: Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States “help build stronger ties between the two countries and bring them closer together,” according to Brian Shott, the new US Public Affairs Counselor in Saudi Arabia.
Speaking at a reception to welcome him at the US embassy in Riyadh on September 18, he said: “One of the main things we do is we try to share aspects of the United States and of American culture, but we also learn from Saudis and Saudi culture.”
In her opening speech, the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Martina Strong also highlighted the enduring relationship between the two countries, saying: “Tonight is a celebration, a celebration of a friendship that has extended over many, many decades.”
Shott, who previously served in Morocco, Cairo and Baghdad, will be in Saudi Arabia for the next two years, during which he will promote educational and cultural exchanges.
“There are some real opportunities here and we have been fortunate enough to be able take advantage of partnerships with Saudi organizations and Saudi agencies, whether it is the General Authority for Culture or the Ministry of Education,” he said.
“We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States.”
Meanwhile, the reception also served as a farewell to Robin Yeager, the cultural attache in Riyadh. She said that it had been a “very dynamic time to be in Saudi Arabia. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be here at a time when I get to know first-hand the future that Saudis are trying to build.”
The night that women were were given the right to drive, she said she went out and saw the “thrill on their faces.” To assist with empowerment and other progressive policies, embassy staff work on social issues and provide leadership training for women’s groups, she said.
“It is beautiful because they take something that an American expert talks to them about and they turn it into the Saudi way to approach it,” she added. “It’s not that we are changing things; it’s that we are giving them tools, so they can build what they want to build.”