Saudi aviation sector to get $53bn boost

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A view of Saudi Airlines aircraft taxied at Jeddah International Airport, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Photo - Scootermer

Saudi Arabia announced it has plans to invest SAR200bn ($53.33bn) in aviation sector over the next five years, country’s English daily reported.

According to Arab News, the spending will be made to meet future demands of the Kingdom’s ever-increasing air traffic thanks to a rapidly-growing population and economic development.

Major construction and upgrade work is currently underway in the country’s air transport industry, including the expansion of Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport and Riyadh’s King Khaled International Airport.

Arab News said the upgraded Jeddah airport, estimated to cost SAR27bn ($7.19bn), would start operations in 2014. The major Saudi airport got its capacity increased from 17m to 30m passengers annually.

“About 7m people come to the Kingdom from different countries every year. The Umrah (Islamic pilgrimage) sector is growing fast at the rate of 35% a year,” Khaled Al-Molhem, director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines, said.

He also disclosed that the Saudi flag carrier plans to launch the largest aircraft maintenance plant in the Middle East at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz Airport.

“We have already awarded the contract to a company to implement the project and the plant will be ready by 2014,” he said.

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