Thursday, July 2, 2015

Saudi Arabia Opens New Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Holy Medina..

Saudi Arabia's King Salman officially opened the new majestic Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport at a grand ceremony here Thursday night.which is the country's first airport constructed and operated entirely by the private sector. 

Heralding a new era of public–private partnership in the Kingdom’s aviation history, the iconic project, spread over an area of 4 million sq. meter, is the Kingdom’s first airport constructed and operated entirely by the private sector.
Upon arrival at the venue of the launching ceremony at the airport, King Salman was received by Prince Faisal Bin Salman, emir of Madinah, Suleiman Al-Hamdan, president of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), and other dignitaries.
The King then toured the facilities of the airport, and was briefed by GACA chief about the facilities including the passport control and check in counters, duty free zone, food court, and departure gates.
The King pressed the button to mark the opening of the airport saying: “In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful… I am honored to be with you this night in the City of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the second holy city of Madinah.
Praise be to Allah, what we are seeing here is delightful and reminds us of the founder of this nation.” While drawing attention to the occasion of naming the airport after Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz, the King recalled the immense contributions rendered by the prince after he was appointed as the emir of Madinah by King Abdulaziz, a position which he assumed for a long period of time.
The King also watched a video presentation about the airport project, which has the capacity to handle eight million passengers a year in the first phase, and this figure will be increased to 18 million in the second phase, and then 40 million after the third and final phase.
About Airport..

Saudi Arabia has opened a new international airport built at a cost of US $ 1.2 billion and a passenger capacity of eight million a year in Medina, the second holiest city of Islam.

Phase one of the airport, spanning a total area of four million square meters, will allow for a passenger handling capacity of eight million a year, which will increase to 18 million and over 40 million passengers per annum in phase two and phase three respectively.

The ownership of the airport is with General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) which also oversees the operations of the Kingdom's 27 existing airports.

"The government is drawing up several efforts to increase its non-oil revenues and GACA is a leading contributor to these economic diversification efforts, driving the civil aviation industry's growth through expansion, infrastructure development and privatisation," said Sulaiman Al-Hamdan, president of GACA.

He said the focus of the country's recently rolled-out corporate strategy and plan was to transform Saudi Arabia's aviation sector profitability and performance by encouraging foreign investments and privatising the management and operation of its airports.

"The new Medina airport is the first in a series of airports that will be privatised to further elevate passenger services and experiences," Al-Hamdan said. 

GACA Chief Al-Hamdan said that the new airport is the first facility in the Kingdom that was built with the partnership of the private sector.
“This is the fruit of partnership of GACA with a consortium led by Tibah Airports Development Co. and consisting of Al-Rajhi Holding Group, Saudi Oger and TAV Airports Holding.
Ever since the upgrading of the airport into an international one 10 years ago, the airport has witnessed steady growth in the passenger traffic with operation of 36 aviation companies and this number would rise to 45 during the Haj season,” he said.
The Tibah-led consortium won the bid for the construction of the airport in 2011 on the basis of build, transfer and operate (BTO) with the GACA.
The total investment in the first phase is SR4.5 billion and the project was funded by the National Commercial Bank, Saudi British Bank and Arab National Bank under the supervision of the International Finance Authority, a member of the World Bank Group.
Al-Hamdan said the airport represents a milestone, which reflects the cultural heritage of Madinah. The main passenger terminal covers an area of 155,000 sq. meters and has 72 check-in counters, of which eight are for large size baggage, 24 counters for self-check-in, 26 passports counter for departures and the same number for arrivals.
The waiting lounge has a capacity for 4,000 people. Technology-based services include 36 elevators, 28 escalators and 23 conveyor belts, all in place to facilitate and speed up the movement of passengers and luggage inside the passenger terminal complex.

The airport has the distinction of being the first airport outside America to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold Certification from the US Green Building Council.

The airport has 6 
 external terminals have been built over a total area of 10,000 sq. meters and seating capacity of 4,000. . These terminals are strategically located close to the Haj terminal to facilitate and speed up procedures for arrivals and departure.

The airport also features advanced passenger and baggage conveyance services with 36 elevators, 28 escalators and 23 conveyor belts, all in place to facilitate and speed up the movement of passengers and luggage inside the terminals. 

The annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca will be performed in September during which Medina will also host millions of pilgrims who would visit the city where the grave of Prophet Mohammad is located. 

Roadblocks persist
While the growth of Saudi Arabia’s aviation sector will certainly help the country diversify, experts warn that several challenges persist.
The kingdom attracts close to 11 million tourists annually, of which 5.7 million are aviation passengers, according to Frost & Sullivan. Aviation traffic is further likely to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 27 per cent over the next decade.
“Passenger numbers in the kingdom are expected to double by 2020, which presents obvious and immediate challenges it terms of the need for new airport terminals,” says Swift.
“However, it also presents a less obvious challenge to the invisible infrastructure air traffic management. It will be vital that corresponding investment is made in this area, in order to fully achieve the benefits of the airport investment.”
The safety standards in a privatised airport also attract significant attention, says Cartic.
“Preventing monopoly and illegal tie-ups between the airport, the airlines, and aerotropolis management will be a big challenge.”
Then there is the need for a trained work force. Some estimates suggest that the Middle East and Saudi Arabia in particular will require over 60,000 trained technical personnel.
But Cartic remains confident that the kingdom can overcome these issues.
“With the Saudi economy given a boost by a burgeoning young population with higher disposable income, enhanced aviation infrastructure and an open capital market attracting greater foreign investment, the overall outlook for Saudi aviation is very positive,” he states.
Given the recent volatility in oil prices and the geopolitical conflict in the region, Saudi’s ability to replicate the success achieved by cities such as Dubai in boosting aviation will certainly help its economy take flight.
Prepared & Collection by : M.Ajmal Khan.

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