JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) – Saudi aviation minister has kicked off the construction work on the new terminal at Jeddah airport which will cost 27.1 billion riyals ($7.2 billion).
Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, who is also the minister of defence, late Tuesday laid the cornerstone for the project during a ceremony at King Abdulaziz airport, whose annual capacity should rise to 30 million passengers when the project is completed in 36 months.
The current capacity for the airport, which handles millions of pilgrims traveling to neighboring Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina, stands at 17 million passengers.
Saudi Binladin Group was awarded the contract in November following a bidding process.
The country’s largest builder will construct a single 670,000-square-metre (more than seven million square feet) terminal with 94 aircraft bays to replace the two ageing facilities currently handling airport traffic.
It will also build what the Saudi airports authority has described as the world’s tallest airport control tower at 133 metres (436 feet), and infrastructure linking the terminal with roads and the planned high-speed railway that will join Jeddah with Mecca and Medina.