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.


Riyadh roads turn green as world’s largest urban greening project branches out

Based on experience, roads and streets without trees contain eight to 10 times the amount of dust compared with streets lined with trees on both sides. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 03 August 2020

Riyadh roads turn green as world’s largest urban greening project branches out

  • Capital gets a facelift as Vision 2030 program works to plant 7.5 million trees
  • Most of the tree species used in the project are from a well-developed local environment with low agricultural service and care

RIYADH: The Green Riyadh project, one of the world’s largest urban greening initiatives, is rapidly bearing fruit as it transforms main roads in the capital.

Major thoroughfares, including King Khalid, Makkah and King Salman roads, are getting a facelift as part of the Vision 2030 goal of improving quality of life in the city.
Dr. Fahad Al-Mana, a professor of Ornamental Plants, Gardens and Green Areas at King Saud University, told Arab News that native tree species being used for the project include Ziziphus spina-christi, Acacia gerrardii and Prosopis cineraria, commonly known as the ghaf tree.
According to Al-Mana, the trees can survive in harsh desert conditions and will grow without intensive agricultural care.
“Most of the tree species used in the planting of the Green Riyadh project are from a well-developed local environment with low agricultural service and care,” he said.
Environmental conditions in Riyadh were taken into account during the tree selection process. The species can grow to a large size in only three years.
“In some locations, they have moved large 3-year-old local trees that were taken care of in plant nurseries to new locations where they are growing successfully,” Al-Mana said.
Green Riyadh will increase the amount of greenery in the city and augment the green cover in the Saudi capital with the planting of 7.5 million trees around the city’s main features and facilities.
The project will reduce the average ambient temperature by 2 degrees Celsius and improve air quality, encouraging people to follow a healthier lifestyle by walking or cycling.

FASTFACTS

• The project will reduce the average ambient temperature by 2 degrees Celsius and improve air quality, encouraging people to follow a healthier lifestyle by walking or cycling.

• The project will maximize the use of recycled water in irrigation works by increasing usage from 90,000 cubic meters per day to more than 1 million cubic meters per day through the construction of a new recycled water network.

• Green space in the city will increase from 5 percent to 9 percent by 2030

“The aim of planting trees in the streets is to provide shade and moderate the temperature, especially in summer, which contributes to the purification of air and reduces environmental pollution by protecting the city from sand storms, winds and dust. In addition, it gives an aesthetic view and the element of nature enters the city and nearby structures,” said Al-Mana.
He added that trees, especially those planted in central street islands, must have long trunks and high branches to avoid hindering the movement of pedestrians and cars. The trunk must measure at least 3 to 4 meters and the size of the trees planted must be proportional to the width of the island.
Al-Mana said green space in the city will increase from 5 percent to 9 percent by 2030.
According to the Green Riyadh website, the project will maximize the use of recycled water in irrigation works by increasing usage from 90,000 cubic meters per
day to more than 1 million cubic meters per day through the construction of a new recycled water network.
Al-Mana said the Green Riyadh project will also reduce carbon dioxide and impurity levels in the city.
“Based on experience, roads and streets without trees contain eight to 10 times the amount of dust compared with streets lined with trees on both sides,” he said.