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.