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HandWiki. King Abdulaziz International Airport. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 19 June 2024).
HandWiki. King Abdulaziz International Airport. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 19, 2024.
HandWiki. "King Abdulaziz International Airport" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 19, 2024).
HandWiki. (2022, November 23). King Abdulaziz International Airport. In Encyclopedia.
HandWiki. "King Abdulaziz International Airport." Encyclopedia. Web. 23 November, 2022.
King Abdulaziz International Airport

King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) (Arabic: مطار الملك عبدالعزيز الدولي) (IATA: JED, ICAO: OEJN) is a Saudi international airport located 19 km to the north of Jeddah. Named after King Abdulaziz Al Saud and inaugurated in 1981, the airport is the busiest airport of Saudi Arabia and the third-largest airport in the kingdom. The airport's Hajj Terminal was specially built for Muslim pilgrims going to Mecca annually on the Hajj. It is one of the largest in the world, and can handle 80,000 passengers at the same time.

الملك الدولي عبدالعزيز

1. Description

The airport occupies an area of 105 square kilometres (41 square miles).[1] Beside the airport proper, this includes a royal terminal, facilities of King Abdullah Air Base for the Royal Saudi Air Force , and housing for airport staff. Construction work on KAIA airport began in 1974, and was finalized in 1980. Finally, on 31 May 1981, the airport opened for service after being officially inaugurated in April 1981.[1]

2. New King Abdulaziz International Airport

In 2019, the new King Abdulaziz International Airport had a soft opening with a number of domestic flights transferred to operate from it. The airport is considered one of the largest of its kind worldwide.[2] Visitors and passengers will enjoy a number of facilities including 810,000 square meters lounges and a transport center that links between the building and the car park and train station.[3] Moreover, the airport will have a huge aquarium with 10 meters in diameter and 14 meters in height as well as a capacity of million liter of water.[3] Furthermore, a mosque with a capacity of 3,732 worshippers has been established in the airport.[3] In August 2019, the airport started moving a number of international flights operated by Saudia to this new terminal [1], and on the 18th of November Etihad has become the first non-Saudi airline to move to this new terminal [4].

3. Facilities

٘North Terminal.

3.1. Hajj Terminal

Because of Jeddah's proximity to the holy city of Mecca, the airport has a dedicated Hajj Terminal, built to handle pilgrims taking part in the rituals associated with the annual Hajj. It can accommodate 80,000 travelers at the same time.

Designed by the Bangladeshi-American engineer Fazlur Rahman Khan of the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), it is known for its tent-like roof structure, engineered by Horst Berger while part of Geiger Berger Associates.[5] Ten modules, each consisting of 21 "tents" of white colored Teflon-coated fiberglass fabric suspended from pylons, are grouped together into two blocks of five modules and separated by a landscaped mall between the blocks. Only customs, baggage handling and similar facilities are located in an air-conditioned building. The vast majority of the complex, called "Terminal Support Area", is a flexible, open area, conceived to function like a village, complete with souk (market) and mosque. Not enclosed by walls, this area is sheltered from the intense sun while allowing for natural ventilation; because of this, some consider it to be a green, environmentally-friendly building.[6]

The Hajj Terminal received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1983. According to the jury, "the brilliant and imaginative design of the roofing system met the awesome challenge of covering this vast space with incomparable elegance and beauty."[7]

At five million square feet (460,000 m2), the Jeddah airport Hajj Terminal is estimated to be among the world's largest air terminals after Beijing Capital International Airport, Dubai International Airport and Hong Kong International Airport. Many airlines from Muslim and non-Muslim countries have used the Hajj Terminal.

3.2. Other Terminals

South Terminal.
North Terminal interior.
Haj Terminal.

Jeddah-KAIA airport serves as a major hub for Saudia who originally had the exclusive use of the South Terminal. In 2007, however, the privately owned Saudi carriers Flynas and Sama Airlines were also given permission to use it. Due to the closure of Sama Airlines, the terminal was only used by Saudia and Flynas. The terminal is now also used by Flyadeal, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, and Korean Air. The North Terminal at Jeddah airport is used by all other foreign airlines.

3.3. Expansion Project

The new King Abdulaziz International Airport three-stage development started in 2006, and is currently scheduled for an official opening in mid 2019.[8] However, as of 2018 local flights have been landing at the airport.[9] The project is designed to increase the airport's yearly capacity from 13 million to 80 million passengers.

The expansion includes a brand-new passenger terminal building, a 136-meter tall air traffic control (ATC) tower (the largest in the world), airfield hard-standing and paved areas, lighting, fuel network systems, electronic passenger guidance system and a new storm water drainage network. There will also be a newly constructed support services building and upgrades to the existing runway and airfield systems. The three stages, according to GACA—the General Authority of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia, will be marked by staged capacity increase to 30 million, 60 million and 80 million passengers per year.

The new airport will be accessed by the Haramain high-speed rail project network. Prince Majed Street will connect to the Al-Laith Highway, forming a fast north-south transit route.

4. Other Facilities

The General Authority of Civil Aviation has the GACA Hangar (Building 364) at the airport.[10]

5. Accidents and Incidents

  • On 11 July 1991, Nigeria Airways Flight 2120, a Douglas DC-8-61, suffered cabin pressure problems followed by a fire due to a failed landing gear. The pilots tried to return to the airport but failed to reach it and the plane crashed, killing all 247 passengers and 14 crew.[11]
  • On 1 March 2004, PIA Flight 2002, an Airbus A300B4-200, burst two tires whilst taking off. Fragments of the tire were ingested by the engines, causing the engines to catch fire and takeoff was aborted. Due to substantial damage to the engine and the left wing, the aircraft was written off. All 261 passengers and 12 crew survived.[12]
  • On 21 May 2018, an Onur Air-leased Airbus A330-200 (reg TC-OCH), operating as flight 3818 from Medina to Dhaka, was diverted to Jeddah after suffering a malfunction with the nose landing gear. It was forced to make a landing with no nose gear, and the remaining landing gear did not collapse. No injuries were reported.[13]


  1. About KAIA on the GACA website
  2. "Saudia starts second phase of domestic operation from new Jeddah airport" (in English). 2019-03-31. 
  3. Khal, Abdu (2018-12-02). "Jeddah's new airport, a delightful song" (in English). 
  4. الدولي, مطار الملك عبدالعزيز (2019-11-12). "يبدأ #مطار_الملك_عبدالعزيز_الجديد (صالة رقم1) اعتباراً من الاثنين المقبل 18 نوفمبر 2019م. تشغيل 3 رحلات يومياً لشركة طيران الاتحاد ذهاباً وإياباً إلى مطار أبو ظبي الدولي. #الوجهة_العالمية_الجديدة" (in ar). 
  5. "SOM's Hajj Terminal Wins AIA 25-Year Award". fabricARCHITECTURE. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-01. 
  6. Cold air is poured into the space and allowed to escape into the desert. Aga Khan Awards, Project brief
  7. Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
  8. "King Abdulaziz International Airport Development Project". Archived from the original on 1 May 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  9. Gazette, Saudi (2018-09-18). "More flights shifted to new Jeddah airport" (in English). 
  10. "Sectors – Safety & Economic Regulations > Contact Information." General Authority of Civil Aviation. Retrieved on 25 February 2012. "1- GACA HANGAR BLDG.364, KAIA, JEDDAH" – Arabic: "1- مبنى رقم 364 – مطار الملك عبد العزيز الدولي -جدة"
  11. "Nationair Flight 2120 accident". Retrieved 16 March 2010. 
  12. "PIA Flight 2002 accident". Retrieved 16 March 2010. 
  13. "Saudia Airbus A330-200 makes emergency landing at Jeddah airport". Arab News. Retrieved 22 May 2018. 
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