Saudi Arabia to build the world’s largest airport by passenger capacity

By Guardian Reporter , The Guardian
Published at 05:23 PM Mar 15 2024
Saudi Arabia  world’s largest airport
Photo: Guardian Reporter
Saudi Arabia world’s largest airport

PLANS are underway for the construction of a 185 million passenger capacity airport in Saudi Arabia. The airport will reportedly be one of the largest, if not the world’s largest in terms of annual passenger capacity.

Dubbed King Salman, the international airport will be built on over 57 square kilometres of land in Riyadh, the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It boasts a total of six massive parallel runways, and it shall subsume existing terminals belonging to Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport.

Additionally, the King Salman International Airport shall have approximately 12 square kilometres of airport support facilities, residential and recreational facilities, retail outlets and other logistics real estate. Its construction is expected to be completed and opened for operation by 2030.

In its opening year, the airport will have the capacity to accommodate up to 120 million passengers per annum. By 2050, its annual passenger capacity will be increased to 185 million and its cargo capacity to 3.5 million tonnes over the same period.

King Salman International Airport project team thus far

So far, a couple of companies have been appointed to actualize the project. Mace Group Ltd, commonly known as Mace, was recently selected to serve as the delivery partner for the world’s largest in terms of annual passenger capacity.

Mace is a global consultancy and construction firm headquartered in London, United Kingdom. The firm was selected following an international tender announced back in 2023. Multiple international firms competed for the contract which comprises project and design management, cost consulting and procurement information.

The London-based company was selected owing to its considerable experience in airport construction and maintenance. One of the company’s notable projects includes the largest airport in Europe, London’s Heathrow Airport. Last year, Mace was appointed as the delivery partner for three major improvement projects at Heathrow.

Another company appointed for the development of the King Salman International Airport project is Foster + Partners. The latter is a global studio for architecture, engineering, and urban and landscape design, headquartered in London as well. The company will carry out the master plan for the world’s largest airports by passenger capacity and design the airport’s buildings.

Lastly, Jacobs, a US-based company that provides a full spectrum of professional services including consulting, technical, scientific and project delivery for the government and private sector, was appointed to design infrastructure at the proposed King Salman International Airport.

Economic impact of the world’s largest airports by passenger capacity

Beyond its architectural marvels, King Salman International Airport is expected to be a significant economic boon for Riyadh and Saudi Arabia as a whole. It is expected to create hundreds of thousands of jobs, both directly related to the airport’s operations and in ancillary sectors.

Furthermore, the project is in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 which aims to diversify the country’s economy away from oil dependence by fostering growth in tourism and logistics. The world’s largest airport’s scale and capabilities are foreseen to attract new business, boosting the country’s position as a global logistics hub.