King Khalid International Airport
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King Khalid International Airport
مطار الملك خالد الدولي
Matār al-Malik Khālid al-Duwaliyy
|Owner||The Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA)|
|Location||Riyadh, Saudi Arabia|
|Elevation AMSL||2,049 ft / 625 m|
King Khalid International Airport (Arabic: مطار الملك خالد الدولي Maṭār al-Malik Khālid al-Duwaliyy, IATA: RUH, ICAO: OERK) is located 35 kilometres (22 mi) north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, designed by the architectural firm HOK, and Arabian Bechtel Company Limited served as the construction manager on behalf of the Saudi government.
This airport consists of five passenger terminals (only three of which are in use), with eight aero-bridges each, a mosque, covered and uncovered car parking for 11,600 vehicles, an additional Royal Terminal (for the kingdom's guests, government heads, and Saudi royal family use), a central control tower (one of the world's tallest), and two parallel runways, which are each 4,260 metres (13,980 ft) long. Formerly the largest airport in the world in terms of ground area, the land area allocated for KKIA is the second-largest in the world, after King Fahd International Airport. The airport is managed and operated by Riyadh Airports Company. The Royal Mosque, with stained glass by British architectural artist Brian Clarke, was a landmark work in the history of the medium, considered to be the largest and technically most advanced stained glass project of the modern period.
King Khalid International Airport (KKIA) was opened by HRH King Fahd on 16 November 1983, and opened for scheduled flights on 5 December of the same year. Until then, what is now Riyadh Air Base served commercial flights to and from Riyadh. Increased international and local air transport requirements for Riyadh made the change necessary. Riyadh Air Base, which is much closer to the city center, is operated by the Royal Saudi Air Force.
Structure and facilities
There are five main passenger terminals at the airport, four of them were built when the airport started operation in 1983, and terminal 5 was opened in 2016.
- Terminal 1 is used for all international flights (except those operated by Saudia and Middle East Airlines, which are Skyteam members and Flynas).
- Terminal 2 is used by all international flights for SkyTeam members, including Saudia, and Flynas.
- Terminal 3 is closed for renovations. It was used to service all Saudia and Flynas domestic flights until Terminal 5 was opened for operation.
- Terminal 4 is unused, having never been utilized since construction, and remains without air bridges. Now it is under development which will last for five years.
- Terminal 5 is the newest terminal opened in 2016, which is now used by Saudia and Flynas for domestic flights.
1 to 4 were built when the airport was opened in November, 1983. They are connected to each other by means of three linking buildings, These buildings are 168 metres (551 ft) long. Each terminal is triangularly shaped, it has a triangular base of 47,500 square metres (511,000 sq ft) area. The complex includes a modern VIPs terminal plus restaurants, cafeterias, airlines offices, government departments, hotels and rent-a-car companies counters, banks, first aid clinics and commercial shops.
Terminal 5 is a 106,500 square metres (1,146,000 sq ft) rectangular building which can serve 16 narrow-body or 8 wide-body aircraft. Operated by Irish airport operator Dublin Airport Authority, it is Saudi's first privately run airport terminal and can handle 12 million passengers per year.
The Royal Terminal
Heads of state and other high-ranking VIP visitors to the kingdom are greeted in the Royal Pavilion. The Royal Pavilion has open spaces, garden areas, and fountains. A ceremonial hall 12.5 metres (41 ft) wide and 390 metres (1,280 ft) long connects it to the mosque. The design and geometry of the building are similar to those of the other terminals architecturally and in the aesthetic respect. Arriving guests can use either air bridges or escalators to enter the building from the aircraft parking area. The ceremonial area on the airside has space for special receptions involving honor guards and bands. Like the passenger terminals, the Royal Pavilion has a triangular plan, with a roof composed of 33 arched sections rising to a high point 30 metres (98 ft) above the ground level. Glass walls and windows illuminate the interior of the building.
General aviation terminal
A general aviation complex has been constructed north of runway number 1 for use by private aircraft and is reached by a special access road which runs north from the airport access highway. The general aviation facility includes a passenger terminal, aircraft parking and maintenance facilities, taxiways and parking for visitors, tenants and staff. In addition to privately owned aircraft, this facility accommodates Saudia's special flight services group. It's also home to Alsalam Aircraft Company, Ltd. Programmed Depot Maintenance (PDM) on Royal Saudi Air Force aircraft is performed at the uniquely designed facility.
The Royal Mosque
The Royal Mosque is set within a plaza in a central position in the airport. KKIA was the first airport in Saudi Arabia to be built to contemporary standard and the mosque was at the time of its construction the most modern mosque in the world, notable for its marriage of traditional Islamic islamic decorative elements with the work of contemporary artists and advances in architecture. Hexagonal in plan, and enclosing an area of over 60,000 sq ft, its scale, location and design make it the most dominant building in the passenger complex. The mosque can accommodate 5,000 worshipers inside, with capacity for an additional 4,000 in the surrounding plaza. The dome is 33 metres (108 ft) in diameter and internally clad in polished bronze, and towers 40 metres (130 ft) above the arrivals level roadway, higher than all of the other structures in the passenger complex with the exception of the control tower and minaret.
In 1982, through the Vesti Corporation, the British architectural artist Brian Clarke was commissioned to design and fabricate stained glass for the interior of the Royal Mosque. Clarke studied Islamic ornament at the Quran schools in Fez and Tangiers for six weeks. The Royal Mosque, completed in 1982 and containing 2,000 square metres of stained glass, was considered to be the largest and technically most advanced stained glass project of the modern period, requiring the full staff of 4 stained glass factories and 150 craftsmen, taking a year to fabricate. The calligraphic mosaic band was designed by Iranian-Armenian painter Edman Ayvazyan, and fabricated with Clarke's assistance.
In the northeast corner of the mosque plaza, a minaret rises 39 metres (128 ft) above the plaza level. A spiral stairway inside the minaret provides access to loudspeakers that broadcast the prayer calls five times daily. There are 5,030 square metres (54,100 sq ft) of floor space on the main floor of the mosque and another 765 square metres (8,230 sq ft) on the mezzanine floor. A Koranic library off of the main mosque floor has 50 square metres (540 sq ft) of user space and the same amount for storage space. The library, private offices and lavatories are located along the southeast on southwest walls.
Runways and aprons
|Runway length||4,205 m (13,796 ft)|
|Runway width||60 m (200 ft)|
|Runway shoulders||7.5 m (25 ft) x 2|
|Runway paved blast pads||120 m (390 ft) x 2|
|Taxiway width||23 m (75 ft)|
|Taxiway shoulders||13 m (43 ft) x 2|
|Cross taxiway width||28 m (92 ft)|
|Cross taxiway shoulders||14.5 m (48 ft) x 2|
|Large-sized aircraft stands||20 + 12 royal terminal|
|Small-sized aircraft stands||22|
|Cargo aircraft stands||4 (Large)|
|General aviation stands||36|
|Helipads||1 Royal terminal|
Air traffic control tower
Centrally located in the passenger terminal complex, between the Royal Pavilion and the mosque is the air traffic control tower standing at 81 metres (266 ft) high. Twr Freq. 118.6E & 118.8W. GND 121.6. CD 121.8. Riyadh Dept. 120.0 Riyadh Approach 126.0
There are 19 separate floor levels in the tower, including the operations area at the base of the tower and a total of 1,230 square metres (13,200 sq ft) of floor space. Six of the 19 floors are considered main floors. These include the operational level at the base of the tower, two equipment floors, an observation floor, a service floor and the cab floor at the top of the tower from which the air traffic controllers overlook the entire airport. The operations floor houses the radar control center for the airport as well as conference rooms, offices and a training area. The two equipment level contain mechanical and electrical equipment and cables, and the service floor contains a kitchen, lounge and lavatories for personnel on duty in the cab. The cab itself contains controller operating positions and electronic and communications equipment. The tower is supplied with two sources of standby power should the regular source of power be interrupted. Once source is the standby power supply at the central power plant – three diesel engine generators. In addition, a 300-kilowatt diesel engine located in the tower itself can provide a secondary source of emergency power. The tower is outfitted with the most advanced electronic radar systems and data processing equipment available.
Passengers going from one terminal to another at King Khalid International Airport can utilize moving sidewalks for transportation. The moving walkways, the first to be installed at any Saudi airport, are located in the three link buildings that connect the international and domestic terminals.
There is a total of 1,196 metres (3,924 ft) of the walkways, which are actually wide conveyor belts which operate at floor level and move at a speed of close to 1 metre per second (2.2 mph). Additional passenger conveniences in the terminal complex include 80 elevators and escalators. In the parking garages, 16 escalators are provided, and two serve the mosque.
The elevators, escalators and moving walkways all have the latest safety equipment installed. Should a fire occur, the elevators would automatically be recalled to the main floors and the doors opened. The escalators and moving sidewalks are equipped with fire and smoke detectors which will cause them to stop automatically should a fire be detected.
KKIA was the first airport in the Kingdom to install airbridges, to speed up handling and turnaround times. Each terminal has eight gates with airbridges effectively eliminating the need for bus journeys between the terminal buildings and waiting aircraft.
KKIA has more than 500,000 square metres (5,400,000 sq ft) of landscaping. Over 225,000 trees, vines, shrubs and ground cover plants were used to landscape the airport site and the interior courtyards. A factor in the landscape design was the limited availability of irrigation water. All of the plants selected for the site are tolerant of heat, wind and dry soil conditions. Wherever possible, plants with a history of successful growth in the Riyadh area or similar environments were selected.
Two large three-level garages have been constructed directly in front of the passenger terminals, one on either side of the airport mosque. They are connected to the terminals and to the mosque by pedestrian walkways under the arrivals level roadway. The design capacity of the garages is 11,600 vehicles. The garages are built of cast-in-place concrete, and each covered level is 4 metres (13 ft) high. Escalators and elevators are available in these garages, as well as stairways between the different levels.
Airlines and destinations
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In July 2014, German construction company Hochtief won the bid for the airport expansion which aims at increasing its capacity from 15 million to 25 million and includes construction of a new fifth terminal. The contract was valued at €1.3 billion and will be carried out by Hochtief with a 55% stake, along with Indian engineering company Shapoorji Pallonji Mideast and Saudi Arabian construction company Nahdat Al Emaar. Construction is expected to be completed by May 2019. Terminal 4 is expected to be equipped with required facilities. KKIA has not witnessed any development since its establishment in 1983.
The airport will be linked with the city's new metro system, and the GACA has reached an agreement with Riyadh Development Authority for the purpose. The metro system will help passengers reach the city center quickly and comfortably, adding that spots have been allocated in the project for the metro lines. Saudi Railway Company will construct the main railway station on the southeastern part of the airport to be linked with the terminal through the metro system.
|Year||Total passengers||Total Aircraft movements|
Accidents and incidents
- On 27 July 2010 at 11:38 local time, Lufthansa Cargo Flight 8460, an MD-11 registered D-ALCQ, crashed upon landing at the airport and was damaged beyond repair in the ensuing fire. The Pilot in command and the First Officer – the only two persons on board – were injured.
- On 4 November 2017, a missile fired by Yemen rebels – in response to the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen – was intercepted by Saudi Air Force near the airport. No damage was reported, but passengers inside the airport's domestic terminal reacted to the detonation.
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Media related to King Khalid International Airport at Wikimedia Commons