Saudi Arabia invests billions in tourism. The country is now bringing forward massive expansion plans for a regional airport in the south of the country.
Saudi Arabia is reinventing itself. The largest country in the Middle East in terms of area and population invests billions in the tourism sector. The vision is to receive about 100 million tourists annually by 2030. The contribution of tourism to national income is expected to rise from the current 3 percent to 10 percent. It is planned to create about one million new jobs with good wages in the tourism sector.
In addition to new collaborations with hotel chains such as Hilton, Hyatt and Accor, aviation plays a central role. In addition to Saudi Airlines and Flynas, two new airlines are being created: Riyadh Air and NEOM Air. Huge investments are also being made in the country’s airports. A huge airport with a capacity of up to 185 million passengers will be built near Riyadh in 2050.
13 million passengers
But existing small airports are also being expanded. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has now presented the master plan for Abha Airport, which opened in 1977, according to the report. Arab media. Abha is the capital of the Asir region in southwestern Saudi Arabia. The airport is close to the border with Yemen and has been attacked by Houthi rebels in the past.
Plans are big for Abha too. In the future, the airport should be able to handle more than 13 million passengers annually, which is nearly nine times the number of passengers today of 1.5 million. Air traffic in Abha is expected to rise to about 90,000 flights annually. There are currently 30,000 flights annually. In addition, the station’s area will grow from the current 10,500 square meters to 65,000 square metres.
Passenger boarding bridges and parks
The new Abha Airport will contain 20 gates with twelve bridges for passenger boarding. There will be 41 check-in counters available, including seven self-service check-in machines. A park is also planned. The design of the new airport aims to reflect the architectural identity of the Asir region and highlight Saudi culture. The first expansion phase is scheduled to be completed in 2028.
More international contacts are planned. According to information from Flightradar 24, there are currently five national and four international connections. Most weekly flights go to Riyadh.
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