Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced plans to transform Riyadh airport into a massive aviation hub with six parallel runways and designed to accommodate up to 120 million travelers by 2030, according to the state news agency SPA, Report informs referring to Reuters.
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), will build King Salman International Airport, which should stretch over 57 square kilometers (22.01 square miles) and include current King Khaled airport, SPA said.
Aviation is part of a government strategy to become a global transportation and logistics hub by 2030, with Riyadh airport as the operation base of a brand-new airline, RIA, that would compete with regional heavyweights Emirates and Qatar Airways.
The kingdom has set itself high targets for diversifying its economy and reducing its dependence on oil, pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into a plan called Vision 2030 initiated by the kingdom’s de facto ruler Prince Mohammed.
“The airport project is in line with Saudi Arabia’s vision to transform Riyadh to be among the top ten city economies in the world and to support the growth of Riyadh’s population to 15–20 million people by 2030,” SPA said.
It added King Salman airport would create 103,000 direct and indirect jobs, handle 185 million travelers and process 3.5 million tons of cargo by 2050.
The 77-year-old state airline Saudia will be based out of the Red Sea city Jeddah under the transportation strategy that calls for the establishment of the two hubs.
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