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Thu 8 May 2014 01:27 PM

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Saudi Arabia plans new airport to serve Makkah pilgrims

General Authority for Civil Aviation reveals plan to build international airport at nearby city of Taif

Saudi Arabia plans new airport to serve Makkah pilgrims
Muslim pilgrims gather at Namira mosque at Mount Arafat, southeast of the Saudi holy city of Makkah. (Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia is planning to build a new international airport to serve pilgrims to Makkah in the nearby city of Taif, its General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) has said.

GACA is preparing a tender and will ask consortia of international and local companies to bid to develop the airport, and aims to award a contract in the first half of 2015, spokesman Khaled al-Khaibani said.

He said it will be developed on a build-operate-transfer basis, in which a developer finances the construction and recoups its investment by operating the airport.

The airport will serve visitors for the annual haj, as well as umrah, a lesser pilgrimage to Mecca which can be performed at any time of year.

GACA's board approved the project on Wednesday and is working with the International Financing Corporation, the consulting wing of the World Bank, to help prepare the tender, the spokesman said.

Most of the several million haj pilgrims coming from abroad each year now arrive at a special terminal inJeddah's international airport, but others fly into Madinah.

The existing airport at Taif serves domestic flights.

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Shakeel 6 years ago

Prophet Muhammad isn't the founder of Islam as you had stated "Islam's founder established the first Muslim community". Even wikipedia clearly mentions it is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion articulated by the Qur'an.

Please do not mislead and get your facts right.