Skip to main content

Saudi unveils plan for massive new airport in capital

The Saudi capital Riyadh is home to about eight million people 
— Riyadh (AFP)

Saudi Arabia on Monday announced plans for a new airport in Riyadh intended to spur rapid growth in the capital while advancing the kingdom's ambitious aviation goals.

The airport, set to accommodate 120 million travellers by 2030 and 185 million travellers by 2050, will be named after 86-year-old King Salman and was announced by his son, 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 to transform Riyadh to be among the top ten city economies in the world and to support the growth of Riyadh's population to 15–20 million people by 2030," SPA said.

The city's current population is fewer than eight million.

Saudi Arabia's aviation goals, part of Prince Mohammed's wide-ranging "Vision 2030" reforms, include more than tripling annual traffic to 330 million passengers by the end of the decade.

It also wants to draw $100 billion in investments to the sector by 2030, establish a new national flag carrier and move up to five million tonnes 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 transport, trade and tourism, and act as a bridge linking the East with the West," SPA said.

The announcement did not provide information about the cost of the project, which has been designed to cover 57 square kilometres.

"With sustainability at its core, the new airport will achieve 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 programme.

The kingdom's busiest international airport is currently in the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah, the self-avowed "Gateway to Mecca" for millions of Muslims performing the hajj and umrah pilgrimages.

But officials have in recent years tried to position Riyadh, in central Saudi Arabia, as a rival to business hub Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Free

The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.

Free

What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing
Expert

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to pro.support@al-monitor.com and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial