RIYADH: The new terminal at King Khalid International Airport (KKIA) in Riyadh, with a built-up area of 106,500 square meters to deal with the challenges in passenger traffic growth, has opened for domestic operations.
“The commercial operation of the ‘KKIA Terminal 5’ began successfully on Sunday,” said Abdullah Al-Khoraif, spokesman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).
Al-Khoraif said: “Terminal 5, the flagship project of a significant investment by KKIA, will replace Terminal 3 and exclusively handle domestic flights.”
The move is extremely important keeping in view the strong demand for additional domestic air travel within Saudi Arabia.
Al-Khoraif said that the “soft opening took place Sunday, with flights to five destinations taking off from the new terminal.”
Domestic flights to about 13 destinations across Saudi Arabia will commence from the new terminal next week, he said.
“By third week from now, all domestic routes will be covered with all domestic flights operating from Terminal 5,” said the GACA spokesman.
Only two airlines, Saudia — the national carrier of the Kingdom and Flynas — the leading low-cost local airline — operated their flights on the inaugural day.
The privately-run KKIA Terminal 5 will accommodate 16 narrow-bodied aircraft or up to eight wide-bodied planes and boast 60 check-in desks and 20 self-service check-in positions, according to GACA.

It has also about 4,500 sq meters of retail and food and beverage outlets and a new car park with spaces for about 3,000 vehicles.
The GACA spokesman said that an inaugural ceremony of the new facility would be organized after it assumes 100 percent operation with all logistics working smoothly.
The new terminal, which has the capacity to accommodate up to 12 million passengers annually, is being managed and operated by DAA International, an Irish operator.
The state-owned regulatory authority GACA awarded the management contract to DAA International following a competitive tender process that included high-profile airport operators from Europe, Asia and Africa.
The opening of the new terminal will ease pressure on the KKIA. In fact, the KKIA, located 35 km north of Riyadh, handled a record 22.3 million passengers in 2015. It is currently on expansion course.
To this end, it is important to highlight that the new King Abdul Aziz International Airport (KAAIA) in Jeddah is also nearing completion.
The new Jeddah airport, covering an area of 105 sq km, will be open for passengers with added capacity next year.
The GACA is working on a few other similar projects, which will go a long way in coping with the passenger loads at the local Saudi airports.
Airports across Saudi Arabia together recorded a 9.5 percent hike in the total number of passengers in 2015, to 81.9 million from 74.8 million in 2014.
There was also a 9.8 percent increase in total number of flights recorded — to around 64.6 million from around 58.9 million in 2014.

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