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 women ‘are in no need of being rescued’

Updated 23 February 2020

Saudi women ‘are in no need of being rescued’

  • Few outside Kingdom understand the scale of female empowerment, top US diplomat tells Arab News

RIYADH: Few people outside Saudi Arabia grasp the scale of the Kingdom’s reform drive, especially in empowering women, a leading US diplomat has told Arab News.

“I was reminded of this … by a prominent Saudi woman, who is happy and proud of the reforms,” said US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus.

“She made the excellent point that Saudi women have been strong, capable and educated for a long time.”

The woman told Ortagus that Saudi women wanted their peers in the US to understand them, not feel pity for them. “Saudi women are not in need of being rescued,” Ortagus said,

READ FULL INTERVIEW: Saudi-US bond will last another 75 years, says US State Department spokesperson

Ortagus lived in Saudi Arabia for almost two years after she was appointed deputy US Treasury attache in 2010, and has been revisiting for the first time since then.

“It doesn’t even seem like the same country,” she said. “I didn’t recognize it. I couldn’t believe that it was the same diplomatic quarter that I used to live in 10 years ago — it is totally transformed.”


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Washington would always welcome Saudi input on Middle East issues, she said. “We’d love the Kingdom’s help on things like the peace plan and vision that Jared Kushner has laid out. It may not be a perfect plan, but if we’re ever going to have peace in this region, it’s going to come from Saudi Arabia getting in and being involved.”