Saudi Arabia announced plans for a new airport in Riyadh on Monday with the intention of spurring rapid growth in the capital while advancing the kingdom’s ambitious aviation goals.
The airport, which will accommodate 120 million travelers by 2030 and 185 million travelers by 2050, will be named after 86-year-old King Salman and announced by his son, the 37-year-old de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to the official Saudi press agency.
“The airport project is in line with Saudi Arabia’s vision of transforming Riyadh to be among the world’s top ten economic cities and supporting Riyadh’s population growth to 15-20 million people by 2030,” he said. SPA.
The current population of the city is less than eight million.
Saudi Arabia’s aviation targets, part of Prince Mohammed’s sweeping “Vision 2030” reforms, include more than tripling annual traffic to 330 million passengers by the end of the decade.
It also wants to attract $100 billion in investment to the sector by 2030, establish a new national flag carrier, and move up to five million tons of cargo each year.
The new airport is expected to be able to process 3.5 million tons of cargo by 2050, SPA said.
“It will boost Riyadh’s position as a global logistics hub, stimulate transportation, trade and tourism, and act as a bridge linking East with West,” SPA said.
The announcement did not provide information on the cost of the project, which has been designed to cover 57 square kilometers.
“With sustainability at its core, the new airport will earn LEED Platinum certification by incorporating cutting-edge green initiatives into its design and will be powered by renewable energy,” SPA said, referring to the green building certification program.
The kingdom’s busiest international airport is currently located in the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah, the self-proclaimed “Gateway to Mecca” for millions of Muslims making the hajj and umrah pilgrimages.
But in recent years officials have tried to position Riyadh, in the center of Saudi Arabia, as a rival to business hub Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.