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Saudi Arabia’s AlUla airport opens to international flights after expansion

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Saudi Arabia’s authorities approved the start of receiving international flights at Prince Abdulmajeed bin Abdulaziz airport in AlUla after the completion of its expansion project, the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said on Thursday.

The airport, which was established in 2011, became the fifth largest airport in the Kingdom, with a total area of 2.4 million square meters.

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“The Royal Commission for AlUla has worked to triple the airport’s capacity, and it can now receive 15 commercial flights at the same time. The capacity has increased from 100,000 passengers to 400,000 passengers per year,” state news agency SPA reported.

“The development project also included the construction of a VIP lounge terminal, built using local materials and reflecting the picturesque Al-Ula environment, its rich heritage and includes a range of other amenities to improve passenger experience,” it added.

The aviation agency announced in August 2019 expansion and development plans for AlUla airport to keep up with the projected growth in air traffic in the region.

The project was also in line with the Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 aims to diversify the Kingdom's economy away from a reliance on oil and push the tourism sector to contribute 10 percent of gross domestic product.

“AlUla’s approach to development balances innovation with heritage, arts and culture while unlocking economic potential to provide new opportunities for the local community. The airport expansion plans further support RCU’s Cultural Manifesto for AlUla, which details the cultural landscape developments planned for the area over the next 10 years. By 2035, RCU expects to host two million visitors annually, while creating 38,000 new jobs,” SPA said.

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