Saudi Arabian Crowne Prince Mohammed bin Salman has announced plans to significantly expand Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport (RUH). The airport will eventually be renamed King Salman International Airport, and will be way bigger than the current airport.
Based on the plans that have been announced, the airport will stretch over 57 square kilometers (22 square miles), and will be able to accommodate 120 million travelers annually by 2030, and up to 185 million travelers annually by 2050. Furthermore, the airport is expected to see up to 3.5 million tons of cargo annually by 2050. The airport is also expected to feature an impressive six parallel runways.
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), will be building the expanded airport. All of this comes as Saudi Arabia prepares to launch RIA, a new Riyadh-based airline that’s expected to grow at a pace we’ve never seen before. Saudi Arabia has the goal of building its own version of Emirates, but in a quarter the amount of time.
The airline would be heavily reliant on international transit passengers, simply using Saudi Arabia as a transit point while traveling between two other countries. Building a new mega-airport is obviously part of this project.