Al-Ula airport to transform by end of 2019 to meet tourism goals

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Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that the transformation of al-Ula’s Prince Abdulmajeed bin Abdulaziz Airport and the Maraya Concert Hall will be finished by the end of 2019 in order to meet its tourism goals.

The expansion plans aim to transform al-Ula’s domestic airport into an aviation hub that can welcome a marked increase in tourists, from its current capacity of 100, 000 passengers to over 400, 000 a year. This an important step towards the Royal Commission for al-Ula’s (RCU) overall goal of accommodating two million tourists by 2035, a statement said.

The airport development will include the construction of an extended apron area to accommodate more aircraft, a new executive suit, and new digital information systems for both the departure and arrival areas. Further interior and exterior design changes are also due to be made to the terminal buildings using local materials from al-Ula.

A new taxiway is planned to be completed in Q1 2020 to further aid meeting growing demand for access to al-Ula.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture and Governor of RCU Prince Badr bin Farhan Al-Saud in a statement said, “Expanding critical infrastructure, such as AlUla’s Prince Abdulmajeed Bin Abdulaziz Airport, in a sensitive and sympathetic way, is a central part of encouraging a diverse and dynamic tourism experience for the county in line with Vision 2030, enabling easier access to enable us to showcase our treasures to the world.”

“It will transform the airport facilities from a purely domestic airport to one that in the future has the infrastructure systems in place to welcome international flights,” Prince Badr added.

Maraya Concert Hall is also due to see some structural improvements and renovations, the venue of the Winter at Tantora season. These changes aim to create a larger, permanent facility with upgraded acoustics that can seat 500 people.

In tandem, a 500-seat restaurant is also being created, along with an art exhibition space and a new rooftop terrace.

“The Maraya Concert Hall has already proven its credentials as a world-class venue during the first Winter at Tantora season,” said Prince Badr. “The enhancements taking place this year will cement this reputation still further, truly establishing it as a dynamic venue of choice for leading artists and performers nestled amongst an extraordinary natural backdrop.”

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