RIYADH: King Khalid International Airport (KKIA) will become one of the most modern gateways in the world following the opening of its new terminal here today.

The multimillion-dollar KKIA Terminal 5 is part of an ambitious airport expansion plan to increase the airport’s capacity from the current 14 million passengers a year to 40 million by 2038.
“The new terminal will greatly improve the passenger experience,” Saudia said in a statement on Saturday. The 106,500-square-meter terminal, adjacent to KKIA’s other terminals, will be the first privately run terminal in Saudi Arabia. The facility will be operated by a subsidiary of the Dublin Airport Authority, a known handler of aviation services.
The statement said Saudia would operate domestic flights to/from Terminal 5 on Sunday, the first day of operation.
Some 36 check-in counters have been readied to handle passengers at the new terminal. This includes 30 check-in counters for economy class passengers and six for first and business class passengers. A ticket sales office has also been opened near the check-in stations to help passengers.
On Sunday, Terminal 5 will witness the operation of five departure and two arrival flights.
Referring to facilities at the new terminal, a KKIA official said: “All logistics are in operational gear … for opening the terminal on Sunday.
“We will distribute chocolates among passengers who take the first flights from the new terminal,” said the official.
The airport has arranged shuttle bus service between Terminal 5 and KKIA international terminals at an interval of every 10 minutes. The new terminal will be fully operational on or before June 20.
The new terminal, with a parking area for about 3,740 cars, will also be connected to the Riyadh Metro, once the railway project is completed. According to the General Authority of Civil Aviation, Terminal 5 will be partly operational from Sunday, handling domestic flights to five destinations in the country.
The terminal can accommodate more than 16 light-bodied or eight wide-bodied aircraft. The terminal’s annual capacity is 12 million passengers. It has 60 counters for luggage check-in, 20 self-service counters, five new carousels, 30 elevators, 19 escalators, and six passenger conveyors. The first and business class halls cover an area of 2,138 square meters.

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