Madina airport to revisit expansion to 12m passengers as pandemic wanes

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Updated 14 May 2022

Madina airport to revisit expansion to 12m passengers as pandemic wanes

Madina airport to revisit expansion to 12m passengers as pandemic wanes

RIYADH: The operator of Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport has confirmed work to increase its capacity by 50 percent could begin as early as this year.

Speaking to Arab News on the sidelines of the Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh, the chairman of the Medina-based facility’s holding company said the number of passengers passing through each year could rise from 8 million to 12 million with “minimal” expansion work.

The plans had been put on ice due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aviation industry, but with air travel bouncing back, the expansion proposals are once again on the table.

Ibrahim Sulaiman Al-Rajhi, chairman of Tibah Airport Development Co., said: “I would assume a maximum of 18 months because the current infrastructure of the airport is capable of taking up to 12 million passengers. 

“However, the expansion will be minimal and the terminal itself and bridges. So with the minimum investments within a short time, we can go from 8 million up to 12 million passengers."

He added: "I would assume either last quarter this year or in the coming year, we have to start expanding the airport."

The $1.2 billion expansion plan consists of a three-level terminal covering over 156,940 square meters with 16 aircraft stands and boarding bridges.

Reflecting on the impact of the pandemic, Al-Rajhi said: “We were in a very high growth, or a reasonable growth, from the early years until 2019. 

“Then we had a huge drop in the market in Saudi Arabia — I would say, in the range of 70 percent to 75 percent. As a specific case, we can see it in other airports of the world and not only in Saudi Arabia.”

The airport has witnessed a significant increase in traffic and passenger numbers in the first few months of 2022 as the COVID-19 outbreak waned.

“We predict that until the end of the year, we will have a better recovery. I would assume we will be in the range of 80 percent to 85 percent. And we assume by the coming year 2023, we will be having, I would say, better numbers,” Al-Rajhi said.

He added: “All the traffic advisors specialized in the aviation industry expect the return of the traffic as it was in 2019 in the range of four years. And I think we may do it a bit faster than that. I would assume in three years we will be catching up.”


France urges producers to cap oil price over Ukraine

France urges producers to cap oil price over Ukraine
Updated 26 June 2022

France urges producers to cap oil price over Ukraine

France urges producers to cap oil price over Ukraine

ELMAU, Germany: France on Sunday urged oil producers to cap the price of the commodity in order to put the squeeze on Russia which is benefiting from soaring energy prices.

Paris backs a US proposal for a maximum oil price, but said that “it would be much more powerful if it came from the producing countries,” said the French presidency.

To make such a measure work, it was “necessary to get into a discussion with OPEC+ and with the world’s oil producers,” said the source.

The US had suggested a price cap decided by consuming countries, a proposal that is due to be discussed by G7 leaders meeting in the Bavarian Alps on Sunday.

But Germany believes that the measure would be too difficult to put in place.

A senior German official said: “We are still intensively discussing how this would work and how that can fit in with the American, British, European and Japanese sanction regimes.”

EU President Charles Michel also said discussions were ongoing but “we want to go more into the details.”

“We want to make sure that ... the goal is to target Russia and not to make our life more difficult and more complex,” he said.


US aims to raise $200bn as part of G7 rival to China’s Belt & Road

US aims to raise $200bn as part of G7 rival to China’s Belt & Road
Updated 26 June 2022

US aims to raise $200bn as part of G7 rival to China’s Belt & Road

US aims to raise $200bn as part of G7 rival to China’s Belt & Road

WASHINGTON: The US aims to raise $200 billion in private and public funds over five years to fund needed infrastructure in developing countries under a G7 initiative aimed at countering China’s multitrillion-dollar Belt and Road project, the White House said on Sunday.
US President Joe Biden will unveil the plans, flanked by other Group of Seven leaders, some of whom have already unveiled their own separate initiatives, at their annual gathering being held this year at Schloss Elmau in southern Germany.

Partnership
Increasingly worried about China, G7 leaders first floated plans for the project last year, and are formally launching it now under a fresh title, “Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment” while dropping the moniker “Build Back Better World” first coined by Biden during his presidential campaign.
Biden will unveil several specific projects at a G7 side event, joined by leaders from Britain, Germany, Japan, the European Union and Canada, vowing to focus on projects that help tackle climate change as well as improve global health, gender equity and digital infrastructure. Notably absent will be French President Emmanual Macron who had formally joined the Chinese infrastructure program.
“The president’s not thinking that we need to spend dollar for dollar versus China ... though if you add up what the US and the G7 partners are going to be announcing, it comes pretty close to the number,” one senior US official told reporters.
The funds would be raised through grants and federal funds, and by leveraging private-sector investments, the White House said, adding that hundreds of billions of additional dollars could come from multilateral development banks, development finance institutions, sovereign wealth funds and others.

BRI scheme
China’s Belt and Road Initiative scheme, which Chinese President Xi Jinping launched in 2013, involves development and investment initiatives in over 100 countries, with a range of projects including railways, ports and highways.
White House officials say Xi’s plan to create a modern version of the ancient Silk Road trade route has provided little tangible benefit for many developing countries, with top jobs going to Chinese workers, while increasing rates of forced and child labor.
Biden will highlight several flagship projects, including a $2 billion solar development project in Angola with support from the Commerce Department, the US Export-Import Bank, US firm AfricaGlobal Schaffer, and US project developer Sun Africa.
Together with G7 members and the EU, Washington will also provide $3.3 million in technical assistance to Institut Pasteur de Dakar in Senegal as it develops an industrial-scale flexible multi-vaccine manufacturing facility in that country that can eventually produce COVID-19 and other vaccines.

Childcare Incentive Fund
The US Agency for International Development will also commit up to $50 million over five years to the World Bank’s new global Childcare Incentive Fund, a project aimed at address the gap in suitable childcare infrastructure.


Saudi-Italian forum to explore opportunities to boost bilateral trade

Saudi-Italian forum to explore opportunities to boost bilateral trade
Updated 26 June 2022

Saudi-Italian forum to explore opportunities to boost bilateral trade

Saudi-Italian forum to explore opportunities to boost bilateral trade

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment will host a high-level Italian business delegation led by Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio on Monday.

With the aim of exploring mutually beneficial investment opportunities, the Saudi-Italian Investment Forum will see participation by a range of private sector representatives from both countries, according to a statement. 

The forum will focus on finance, infrastructure and mobility, tourism and culture, and renewable energy. 

It will conclude with bilateral business meetings. It will serve as a platform for Italian investors to explore the support services available from Invest Saudi, the Kingdom’s investment promotion platform.


Egypt’s chemical industry exports rise by 33% to $3.5bn 

Egypt’s chemical industry exports rise by 33% to $3.5bn 
Updated 26 June 2022

Egypt’s chemical industry exports rise by 33% to $3.5bn 

Egypt’s chemical industry exports rise by 33% to $3.5bn 

CAIRO: Egypt's chemical and fertilizer industries’ exports have increased by 33 percent to a record $3.5 billion during the first five months of 2022, compared to $2.6 billion during the same period last year, the latest official data revealed.

According to the Chemical Industries and Fertilisers Export Council, the sector ranked first in terms of the volume of its exports from Egypt's total non-oil exports.

The chemical and fertilizer sector accounted for around 22 percent of Egypt’s total non-oil exports. This was followed by the building materials sector, which accounted for 20 percent of the total exports, with a value of about $3.2 billion.

According to official data, most of the sector's exports witnessed increases in varying proportions.

Fertilizers ranked first, with an estimated export volume of $1.16 billion, compared to $768 million during the same period last year, with a growth rate of 51 percent.

Plastics exports came in second place, with exports estimated at $1.09 billion, an increase of 12 percent over the same period last year when exports amounted to about $970 million.

In third place came the inorganic chemicals, which witnessed a noticeable increase in the volume of their exports by 144 percent, rising from $225 million to $550 million. 


Egypt In-Focus — Fintech startups raise $167m; deal signed to import 180K tons of wheat from India

Egypt In-Focus — Fintech startups raise $167m; deal signed to import 180K tons of wheat from India
Updated 26 June 2022

Egypt In-Focus — Fintech startups raise $167m; deal signed to import 180K tons of wheat from India

Egypt In-Focus — Fintech startups raise $167m; deal signed to import 180K tons of wheat from India

RIYADH: Fintech startups in Egypt have raised $167 million in the first half of 2022, according to a report published in Fintech Galaxy. 

According to the report, the amount was collected in 31 transactions of which series A and B funding accounted for around 90 percent. 

The growth of the fintech sector in Egypt is primarily driven by the Central Bank of Egypt’s Sandbox and the recent launch of Nclude Fintech fund, the report added. 

Egypt to import 180,000 tons of wheat from India

The Egyptian government has successfully closed a deal to import 180,000 tons of wheat from India, Reuters reported citing Supply Minister Aly Moselhy.

The minister said that the contracted wheat will be shipped once it reaches the Indian ports. 

Strategic reserves

Egypt has strategic reserves of wheat sufficient for 5.7 months, the supply minister said in a news conference on Sunday, adding that the country has procured 3.9 million tons of wheat in the local harvest so far.

Egypt is one of the world’s biggest wheat importers.

He added that the strategic reserves for sugar were sufficient for more than six months and those for vegetable oils are sufficient for 6.2 months, while the country is self-sufficient for rice for 3.3 months.

 

(With input from Reuters)