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Tue 20 Oct 2009 08:35 AM

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Saudi Arabia plans to build three 'airport cities'

Aviation authority in talks with private firms about plans for Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam.

Saudi Arabia’s three main international airports in Jeddah, Riyadh, and Dammam will be turned into ‘airport cities’, officials have said.

The kingdom’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) is already looking at proposals by up to 30 private aviation firms to develop the three airports and the land around them, the Saudi Gazette reported.

“We have had a lot of interest from airport operators and developers throughout the world; we have also contracted world-class operators from Frankfurt airport, Fraport, and Singapore Airport to support the operation and further development of international gateway airports in Jeddah, Riyadh, and Dammam.

“They will work with local management teams for six years,” Engineer Abdullah Noor Rahimi, GACA president told the paper.

“The process is underway; we have plans for huge commercial offices, malls, hotels, conference halls, and service agencies to be established inside the airport,” he said.

“Each airport will be a separate city where people can live, shop, study, and attend international conferences, in addition to enjoying many other services.”

As well as the new airport cities, Saudi officials anticipate the kingdom’s economic cities will boost air travel to the country.

“Accessibility is vital for these cities, and the size of the Kingdom means that surface transport is not a viable option for business travelers seeking to invest in new cities. Therefore, we are upgrading or contracting for the establishment of airports which will serve each of the economic cities,” Rahimi told the paper.

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