The work on the new King Abdul Aziz Airport (KAIA) project in Jeddah is progressing well and is likely to be ready for international operations by the middle of 2017, said a report, citing senior civil aviation officials.
Nearly 86% of the construction work is over, with the completion of the core business lounge, a 136-m-high control tower and supporting facilities, roads, bridges and infrastructure, including a complex of rain drainage network, reported the Arab News.
The new airport will boast a 33-km-long conveyor belt, automatic train to transport international passengers, and around 96 air bridges for serving aircraft of different sizes, of which four will serve the Airbus 380, it stated.
It will be able to serve 70 aircraft at any given time, with all fuel and water to be supplied through underground pipes, the report said, citing senior project officials.
Makkah Governor Prince Khaled Al Faisal and Jeddah Governor Prince Mishaal bin Majed expressed satisfaction at the progress after inspecting the airport site recently.
The project, a major milestone in the development of Jeddah, will be completed by the end of next year. This would be followed immediately by a commissioning phase and operational testing to ensure that the airport's systems are functioning optimally and is ready to welcome the first international flights by the middle of 2017, said the report, citing senior officials.
Almost 110 companies specialized in the operation of international airports are working on the mammoth project deploying a record 26,000 engineers and workers, and approximately 2,600 pieces of equipment and machinery, said the report citing the Kingdom's General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).
The first phase facilities for the project include a terminal complex measuring over 720,000 sq m in size, allowing all airlines to operate under one roof, it stated.
There will be five lounges for first class and business class passengers, two for departing international flights and two for departing domestic flights, while the fifth is for other passengers connecting with international and domestic flights, said the report.
A mosque accommodating 3,000 people with an outdoor prayer yard over 2,450 sq m and an upper level for at least 700 females will also be available in the new complex.
On completion, the new airport will have a capacity to accommodate at least 30 million passengers, it added.