New Jeddah airport to open mid-2015

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The new King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah will open in the middle of 2015 with an increased capacity, a leading official said here on Tuesday.

Abdul Hamid Abul Ora, director of the airport, told Arab News: “The new airport will have a capacity of 30 million passengers in the first phase, 45 million in the second phase, and up to 80 million in the final phase.”

The airport management is currently focusing on completing the first phase on schedule, he said.

Abul Ora said there are penalties stipulated by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) for those airlines failing to offer proper services for passengers, including adhering to set flight schedules.

Responding to a question, Abul Ora said there are plans to establish an air cargo village after the development of the new airport, to cater for the nearly 20 percent annual growth in cargo. These villages in other parts of the world have been highly profitable, he said.

Commenting on the recurring air-conditioning problems at the South Terminal Lounge, he said a budget has been allocated for upgrades there and at the north terminal lounges.

He said temporary units have been brought in at the south terminal while the work is under way. Each substitute unit has a cooling capacity of 50 tons. They are being installed in departure and arrival halls for a month, he said.

He said a duty-free market would be launched at the new airport.

In response to a question, he said the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus outbreak has not affected the number of passengers at the airport. The Ministry of Health has introduced stringent precautionary measures at the airport, he said.

He confirmed that a hotel would be opened at the airport for pilgrims if flights are canceled or delayed. Companies contracted to GACA would build the facility, which would have 117 rooms and suites, he said.

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