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Royal Commission for AlUla completes second phase of airport expansion, increasing annual capacity by 300% as several routes re-open

  • Development project included the renovation of the main building, construction of a VIP terminal and a range of structural updates to improve passenger experience.
  • Infrastructure expansion underlines RCU’s commitment to the region and confidence in the rebounding tourism industry.

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has today announced, in collaboration with the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), the completion of the second phase of AlUla’s airport development project, a key component of its strategy to position the city as a major tourism destination and logistics hub.

Encompassing the renovation of the airport’s main terminal building and the expansion of the apron to add 6 Code C and larger 4 Code E Aircraft Stands - an additional 150,000m2 of taxiways with 2 additional connections to the runway - the second phase of the development project increases the airport’s annual capacity from 100,000 to 400,000 passengers. The completed Airside Works (Aprons & Taxiways) can facilitate the 15,000 aircraft movements per year required to serve the over 2,000,000 visitors to AlUla in 2035 and beyond.

The development project also included the construction of a VIP lounge terminal, built using local materials and reflecting the picturesque AlUla environment, its rich heritage and includes a range of other amenities to improve passenger experience. The completion of the second phase of the airport development project is in line with RCU’s aim to continue reopen the area in readiness to receive visitors in October.

RCU's Head of Infrastructure Development and Asset Management, Adil Jamil, commented: “Vital infrastructure projects such as this provide the foundations for RCU’s sustainable growth strategy. The airport is continuing to create a range of employment opportunities for local residents as it emerges as a logistical hub catering to the northwest of the Kingdom.”

In cooperation with Saudi Arabian Airlines, the Royal Commission for AlUla has also facilitated the resumption of flights from Riyadh to AlUla. Four flights currently run each week and it is expected that flights to AlUla from Jeddah and other domestic cities will also resume soon. The airport will also be able to receive direct international flights.

Guided by 12 strategic principles drawn from the Commission’s Framework Plan and Charter, AlUla’s approach to development balances innovation with heritage, arts and culture while unlocking economic potential to provide new opportunities for the local community. The airport expansion plans further support RCU’s Cultural Manifesto for AlUla, which details the cultural landscape developments planned for the area over the next 10 years. By 2035, RCU expects to host 2 million visitors annually, while creating 38,000 new jobs.

The first phase of the airport development, which was completed in 2019, saw the expansion of the airport to accommodate more aircraft, the implementation of a new digital information system in arrival and departure halls, and the development of both the internal and external designs of the two halls. In 2019, AlUla airport welcomed approximately 52,000 passengers and 855 flights.