Saudi Arabia has made big plans to construct a massive new airport in Riyadh that will cover a massive 57 square kilometers, feature six parallel runways, and have the ability to accommodate 185 million passengers annually.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched on Sunday the multibillion-dollar project, which might take up to three decades to complete.
As part of Prince Salman’s plans to make Saudi Arabia a major tourism destination, the airport would serve as the hub for a new Saudi airline that is expected to be named RIA (Riyadh International Airlines).
By concentrating on transferring customers traveling from the West to the East and vice versa and using the Middle East as an easy stopover destination, RIA also hopes to replicate the success of regional carriers like Emirates and Qatar Airways.
The new King Salman International Airport in Riyadh will be funded by the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, similar to the city’s new airline. According to the new airport’s master plan, it wants to “stimulate trade, tourism, and transportation, and operate as a bridge connecting the East and the West.”
The airport will rapidly grow to accommodate 120 million people annually in just eight years, and by 2050, this number is expected to rise to 185 million passengers annually.
The airport will be constructed on the site of the current King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh and will include its terminal buildings.
Comparatively, in 2018, Dubai International Airport (DXB) handled 89 million passengers, with the airport running at or close to capacity. Dubai World Central, the larger airport that would eventually take the place of DXB and is intended to handle 250 million people annually, is located 23 miles southwest of downtown Dubai.
Introducing King Salman International Airport.
— Public Investment Fund (@PIF_en) November 28, 2022
While King Salman International Airport will focus on long-haul international aviation traffic, the busiest airport in the world right now, Atlanta Hartsfield, processed almost 110 million passengers in 2019. However, this number also includes domestic travel within the United States.
There isn’t much information about the new airport, but Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund claims Saudi culture will be taken into account in the architecture and sustainability will be incorporated throughout the airport.