The development and operation of Taif, Qassim and Hail airports will be entrusted to consortiums of national and global companies, according to Tariq Abduljabbar, deputy to the president of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).
A consortium of Asiad, Consolidated Contractors Company and Flughafen München GmbH will develop the Taif airport.
Abduljabbar said Sulaiman Al-Rajhi Charitable Foundation and Turkey’s TAV Airports would be partnering up to develop and operate airports in Qassim and Hail.
While speaking to reporters, Abduljabbar said these partnerships would be based on the build-transfer-operate model, which is considered the most appropriate for upgrading airport operations as proved by Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Medina.
Abduljabbar has said these partnerships are part of the GACA’s efforts to upgrade the services offered at airports to the passengers while also invigorating the business activity at airports.
Speaking about the responsibilities GACA has to handle, he said the authority not only has full supervision responsibilities of all of the Kingdom’s 27 airports, but also is concerned with building new ones, expanding existing airports, and the development and maintenance of airport facilities. It also readies locations for investors and is tasked with business development to boost revenue.
Abduljabbar stressed that the authority’s aim is to intensify traffic through Saudi airports. The statistics show that the strategy is working, he said, adding that a record 84 million passengers traveled through Saudi airports in 2016 on more than 1.1 million flights.
He pointed out that the standards used to determine ideal locations for airports include comparisons among population densities in urban and rural areas in a given zone and analyses of businesses and business sectors that are active in that zone, as well as its geographic features, and operational concerns in terms of navigation and air safety.
Other important factors, he elaborated, include urban transportation modes and patterns, and the proximity of populated spots to the nearest airport within a 200-300 km radius. Also, economic feasibility, business cases, and profitability are also highly prioritized factors.
The authority has initiated media gatherings to bolster ties with the media and other stakeholders in civil aviation to keep them informed and updated on developments in the industry.
This report was first published in Saudi Gazette on April 20, 2017.