King Khalid International Airport

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King Khalid International Airport
مطار الملك خالد الدولي
Matār al-Malik Khālid al-Duwaliyy
Airport type Public
Owner The Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA)
Serves Riyadh
Location Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Hub for Saudia
Elevation AMSL 2,049 ft / 625 m
Coordinates 24°57′28″N 046°41′56″E / 24.95778°N 46.69889°E / 24.95778; 46.69889Coordinates: 24°57′28″N 046°41′56″E / 24.95778°N 46.69889°E / 24.95778; 46.69889
RUH is located in Saudi Arabia
Location of airport in Saudi Arabia
RUH is located in Asia
RUH (Asia)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
15R/33L 4,205 13,796 Asphalt
15L/33R 4,205 13,796 Asphalt
17/35 4,914 16,122 Asphalt concrete
Statistics (2017)
Passengers 25,425,000
Economic impact (2012) $8.0 billion
Social impact (2012) 87.1 thousand
Sources: AIP Saudi Arabia[1][dead link]

King Khalid International Airport (Arabic: مطار الملك خالد الدوليMaṭār al-Malik Khālid al-Duwaliyy, IATA: RUH, ICAO: OERK) is located 35 kilometres (22 mi) north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia,[2] 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 5 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. The land area allocated for this airport is among the largest (Second-largest, after King Fahd International Airport) in the world.

This airport was an alternative landing site for NASA's Space Shuttle.[3]


King Khalid International Airport (KKIA) opened for operations in late 1983. 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[edit]


Passenger terminals[edit]

There are five main passenger terminals at the airport, four of them were built when the airport started operation in 1982, and terminal 5 was opened in 2016.

  • Terminal 1 is used for all international flights (except those operated by Saudia, Air France, 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 started 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.[4]
  • Terminal 5 is the newest terminal opened in 2016, which is now used by Saudia and Flynas for domestic flights.
  • Terminal 6 is the hajj operators for hajj airliner which is Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air and Saudia.

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.[5]

The Royal Terminal[edit]

The US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates walks with U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia James Smith after arriving at King Khalid International Airport.

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[edit]

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.

Runways and aprons[edit]

Fountain at the airport
Runway and apron infrastructure[1]
Aspect Details
Runways 2
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[edit]

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.

Inter-terminal connectivity[edit]

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.


An airbridge connected to an Airbus A320.

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.

The mosque[edit]

King Khalid Airport Mosque in Riyadh

The design of KKIA Mosque is one of the most distinct landmarks in the airport by virtue of its Islamic architecture. It can accommodate 5,000 worshipers inside and another 5,000 in the plaza outside.[2] Its location in the center of the passenger terminal establishes it as the most important structure on the airport and makes it the first sight visitors see as they leave the arrival area. The dome is 33 metres (108 ft) in diameter 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 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.


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.


This facility has five separate fire houses, with several modern firefighting vehicles, and trained firefighters. The location also has security equipment and a security force.

Parking facilities[edit]

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[edit]


Aegean Airlines Seasonal: Athens [6]
Air Arabia Sharjah
Air Arabia Egypt Alexandria–Borg el Arab
Air Arabia Jordan Amman–Queen Alia [7]
Airblue Lahore, Sialkot
Air Cairo Assiut, Alexandria–Borg el Arab, Sohag[8]
Air France Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Air India Delhi, Chennai, Kochi, Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram
Air India Express Kozhikode
Biman Bangladesh Airlines Dhaka
British Airways London–Heathrow
Czech Airlines Prague
EgyptAir Alexandria–Borg el Arab, Cairo
Emirates Dubai–International
Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
Flyadeal Abha, Jeddah, Jizan, Tabuk [9][10][11]
FlyBosnia Sarajevo [12]
flydubai Dubai–International
flynas Abha, Abu Dhabi, Al Baha, Al Jawf, Amman–Queen Alia, Antakya, Baghdad, Beirut, Bisha, Cairo, Dammam, Dubai–International, Gassim, Gurayat, Hail, Hyderabad,[13] Islamabad, Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen, Jeddah, Jizan, Khartoum, Kuwait City, Lahore, Medina, Sharm El Sheikh, Tabuk
Seasonal: Athens, Baku, Tbilisi, Trabzon, Vienna
Gulf Air Bahrain
Jet Airways Delhi, Mumbai [27]
Kuwait Airways Kuwait City
Lufthansa Bahrain, Frankfurt
Seasonal: Munich
Middle East Airlines Beirut
Nesma Airlines Seasonal: Sarajevo
Hajj: Banda Aceh
Oman Air Muscat
Pakistan International Airlines Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, Sialkot [29]
Philippine Airlines Manila
Royal Air Maroc Casablanca
Royal Jordanian Amman–Queen Alia
Saudia Abha, Abu Dhabi, Addis Ababa, Al Baha, Alexandria–Borg el Arab, Al Jawf, Al Ula, Al Wajh, Amman–Queen Alia, Arar, Bahrain, Bengaluru, Beirut, Bisha, Cairo, Casablanca, Chennai, Colombo, Dammam, Dawadmi, Delhi, Dhaka, Dubai–International, Frankfurt, Gassim, Geneva, Guangzhou, Gurayat, Ha'il, Hyderabad, Islamabad, Istanbul–Atatürk, Jakarta–Soekarno-Hatta, Jeddah, Jizan, Karachi, Khartoum, Kochi, Kuala Lumpur–International, Kuwait City, Lahore, London–Heathrow, Los Angeles, Lucknow, Madrid, Manila, Male, Medina, Milan–Malpensa, Mumbai, Muscat, Najran, New York–JFK, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Peshawar, Qaisumah, Rafha, Rome–Fiumicino, Sharurah, Tabuk, Ta'if, Thiruvananthapuram, Turaif, Vienna, Wadi al-Dawasir, Washington–Dulles, Yanbu
Seasonal: Izmir, Málaga, Manchester, Munich, Surabaya
SaudiGulf Airlines Dammam
SriLankan Airlines Colombo
Sudan Airways Khartoum
Syrian Air Damascus
Tarco Airlines Khartoum
Turkish Airlines Istanbul–Atatürk, Istanbul–Sabiha Gökcen, Trabzon
Seasonal: Antalya
Yemenia Aden


Cargolux Hanoi, Luxembourg City
DHL International Aviation ME Bahrain
Ethiopian Cargo Addis Ababa, Kuwait City
Lufthansa Cargo Frankfurt, Sharjah
Saudia Cargo Addis Ababa, Amsterdam, Brussels, Dammam, Frankfurt, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Houston–Intercontinental, Jeddah, Lagos, Milan–Malpensa, Mumbai, New York–JFK, Shanghai–Pudong, Sharjah
Turkish Airlines Cargo Istanbul–Atatürk, Mumbai[36]


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.[37] 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.[38] 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.

Traffic statistics[edit]

Saudia Boeing 747-400 at King Khalid International Airport.
A Saudia Airbus A320 at the gate.
an Etihad Airways Airbus A340 at the gate.
Statistics for King Khalid International Airport
Year Total passengers Total Aircraft movements
1998 8,055,000 70,909
1999 8,234,000 73,336
2000 8,411,000 74,945
2001 8,737,000 75,535
2002 9,045,000 75,623
2003 9,168,000 74,600
2004 9,911,000 77,327
2005 10,573,000 84,555
2006 11,017,000 94,250
2007 11,783,000 112,210
2008 11,540,000 114,429
2009 12,674,000 127,666
2010 13,616,000 129,613
2011 14,898,000 135,757
2012 17,069,000 153,533
2013 18,585,000 161,314

Accidents and incidents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "OERK – RIYADH/King Khaled International" (PDF). AIP Saudi Arabia. GACA. 22 March 2001. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b "King Khaled International Airport Overview". Flight Stats. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  3. ^ John Pike (20 July 2011). "Space Shuttle Emergency Landing Sites".
  4. ^ "Expansion to up Riyadh airport capacity to 35 m | Arab News – Saudi Arabia News, Middle East News, Opinion, Economy and more".
  5. ^ "Riyadh airport's Terminal 5 to be operational partly on Sunday". Saudi Gazette. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Aegean Airlines Delays Riyadh Launch to July 2015". 27 March 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  7. ^ "Air Arabia Jordan Adds Riyadh Service from April 2016". airlineroute. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  9. ^ 2018, UBM (UK) Ltd. "flyadeal launches Gizan service from late-Dec 2017".
  10. ^ 2018, UBM (UK) Ltd. "flyadeal plans Abha launch in Feb 2018".
  11. ^ "flyadeal flying daily to Tabuk from May 3". Saudigazette. 2018-04-17. Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  12. ^ "Bosnia and Herzegovina aviation news: ✈FLYBOSNIA-Sarajevo-Riyadh flight schedule". 2018-04-25. Retrieved 2018-06-16.
  13. ^ "flynas files additional new service from June 2018". Routesonline. Retrieved 2018-06-16.
  14. ^ "flynas outlines additional new routes in S18". Routesonline. Retrieved 2018-06-16.
  15. ^ UBM (UK) Ltd. 2016 (29 October 2015). "flynas Adds Abu Dhabi / Bahrain Routes from Dec 2015". Routesonline.
  16. ^ UBM (UK) Ltd. 2016 (4 May 2016). "flynas Adds Riyadh – Al Baha Service from late-May 2016". Routesonline.
  17. ^ a b "flynas Adds New Riyadh Routes from Mar 2016". airlineroute. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  18. ^ "أول ناقل وطني سعودي إلى العراق".
  19. ^ 2018, UBM (UK) Ltd. "flynas plans Beirut service from Nov 2017".
  20. ^ 2018, UBM (UK) Ltd. "flynas adds new domestic routes in late-Jan 2017".
  21. ^ "flynas Adds Riyadh – Cairo Route from late-April 2015". Airline Route. 25 March 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  22. ^ JL (3 April 2013). "W6/WU13".
  23. ^ a b "flynas plans Pakistan launch in Feb 2018". airlineroute. January 17, 2018. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  24. ^ 2018, UBM (UK) Ltd. "flynas adds Trabzon service from June 2018".
  25. ^ "Saudi Arabia's Flynas launches flights to Tbilisi from June". 13 April 2018. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  26. ^ Liu, Jim (3 May 2018). "flynas outlines additional new routes in S18". Routesonline. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  27. ^ "Jet Airways adds Delhi – Riyadh service in W17". Routesonline. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  28. ^ Bosnian, Flying (29 March 2017). "Bosnia and Herzegovina aviation news: ✈ Nesma Airlines Riyadh-Sarajevo flights!".
  29. ^ UBM (UK) Ltd. 2016 (4 May 2016). "Pakistan International Increases Saudi Arabia Flights from late-April 2016". Routesonline.
  30. ^ UBM (UK) Ltd. 2016 (1 April 2015). "Saudia Adds Riyadh – Wedjh Service from May 2015". Routesonline.
  31. ^ 2018, UBM (UK) Ltd. "Saudia proposes Thiruvananthapuram Oct 2017 launch".
  32. ^ "Saudia begins seasonal service to Izmir and Malaga from June 2018". Retrieved 2018-06-16.
  33. ^ 2018, UBM (UK) Ltd. "Saudia adds seasonal Riyadh – Manchester route in S17".
  34. ^ "Turkish Airlines adds new seasonal Saudi Arabia routes in S17". routesonline. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  35. ^ "Turkish Airlines Expands Riyadh Service in S16". airlineroute. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  36. ^ Turkish Airlines Cargo Winter Schedule Archived 4 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  37. ^ "Hochtief wins $2.9bn Riyadh airport expansion". Global Construction View. 23 July 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  38. ^ Webb, Alex (30 June 2015). "Hochtief-Led Group Seals $1.5 Billion Riyadh Airport Contract". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  39. ^ "UPDATE 2-Lufthansa cargo plane crashes at Saudi airport". Reuters. 27 July 2010. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
  40. ^ "BBC News – Lufthansa cargo plane crashes at Riyadh airport". 27 March 2010. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
  41. ^ "Flight 8460 at the Aviation Safety Network". 27 July 2010.
  42. ^ "Missile fired at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh".
  43. ^ Fisher, Max; Schmitt, Eric; Carlsen, Audrey; Browne, Malachy (December 4, 2017). "Did American Missile Defense Fail in Saudi Arabia?". The New York Times.

External links[edit]

Media related to King Khalid International Airport at Wikimedia Commons