Saudi Arabia plans to transform international airports in the Kingdom into state-owned companies, as a step towards privatisation of these airports, Abdullah Ruhaimy, president of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) was quoted as saying in a recent Middle East Logistics report.
MEL said that Arabic magazine Al Majalla quoted Ruhaimy as saying that GACA would start commercial operation of airports within three years.
“The international airports will be given corporate identity with independent fi nancial status before being transferred to the ownership of companies fully owned by the state,” he said. Ruhaimy said the new plan would improve management of these airports. “This will eventually help the state take a decision on privatisation of these airports,” he explained.
He said the authority was studying a proposal to set up business cities within the Kingdom’s airports. “There is a plan to establish an exhibition centre and a hotel at King Fahd International Airport in Dammam,” he said.
He said the authority would soon announce the company that has won the contract for building and managing new terminals at King Abdul Aziz International Airport.
GACA said in a statement that the contract covers expansion of the airport’s tarmac and runways in order to increase its annual capacity to 80 million passengers. The work will also include construction of a new aircraft parking facility west of the Haj Terminal as well as modernisation of ground lights systems and information technology infrastructure. Under the project, a 6.5 square kilometres area will be set aside for commercial projects including hotels and offi ces of companies.
The new expansion project, which is estimated to cost SR18 billion will enable the airport to receive large jumbo jets, including the A380.