Riyadh is planning to open one of the largest airports in the world by 2030. Named King Salman International Airport, it will be designed to handle up to 120 million passengers annually by 2030, and 185 million by 2050. 

Linda Schucroft, Vice President of Innovation and Customer Experience at the airport, discussed these plans ahead of the FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary & Retailing events in Dublin, scheduled for June 11-13.

Riyadh's Futuristic Airport Promises a Seamless Passenger Experience
Riyadh's new airport
(Photo : Screenshot image taken from Arquitectura Viva)

Riyadh's New Gateway Redefines Air Travel for the Future

The new airport in Riyadh will cover 57 square kilometers and include six parallel runways. Its design focuses on the customer, offering personalized experiences in both physical and digital forms. 

Future Travel Experience shared that the aim is to provide journeys customized to the needs of each traveler, breaking away from the typical business and economy class experiences. This innovative approach includes using first-to-market AI-powered platforms to enhance how passengers interact with airport services.

In addition to the airport itself, a large area surrounding the facility will be developed into an "airport city." This will include residential areas, hotels, retail spaces, and offices, creating a vibrant community for both travelers and local residents.

Schucroft also shared a unique partnership with Riyadh Air, which will allow the airport to share data with the new airline to improve service. This collaboration aims to streamline the passenger experience by reducing wait times and stress at the airport.

As the airport prepares for its grand opening, it is also focusing on adopting new technologies like AI, robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT). These technologies are expected to revolutionize the way travelers move through the airport, providing a seamless and efficient experience.

King Salman International Airport is setting the stage to transform Riyadh into a key player in global aviation, aiming to deliver an unparalleled travel experience.

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Riyadh to Build New King Salman International Airport

Saudi Arabia is set to construct the King Salman International Airport in Riyadh, part of its efforts to diversify the economy beyond oil and enhance the city's transport facilities. This new project, led by Riyadh Airports Company and designed by the British firm Foster + Partners, will replace the current King Khalid International Airport.

The airport will cover an area of 57 square kilometers and feature six parallel runways. According to the International Airport Review, it is designed to handle up to 120 million passengers annually by 2030 and has the potential to expand to accommodate 185 million passengers by 2050. 

Additionally, the airport will have the capacity to process 3.5 million tonnes of cargo annually.

A significant aspect of the airport's design is its commitment to sustainability, aiming for LEED Platinum certification. It will incorporate green initiatives and rely on renewable energy sources.

Funding for the airport's construction comes from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), which forecasts that the airport will contribute SAR27 billion annually to the economy and create over 100,000 jobs. 

Alongside the airport, the newly established Riyadh Air plans to operate its fleet of 39 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, contributing an additional $20 billion to the country's non-oil GDP through tourism.

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