Jed­dah bids fond farewell to iconic air­port ter­mi­nal

For many wor­ship­pers, south ter­mi­nal has been their first stop on a jour­ney of a life­time to per­form Hajj or Um­rah

Arab News - - News Saudi Arabia - Rawan Rad­wan Jed­dah

Jed­dah’s in­ter­na­tional air­port is bid­ding a fond farewell to its dis­tinc­tive south ter­mi­nal, known for its unique tri­an­gu­lar tent-shaped ex­te­rior and large glass fa­cade, as flight op­er­a­tions move to a new base.

In­au­gu­rated by King Khalid in April 1981 af­ter trans­fer­ring all op­er­a­tions from its pre­vi­ous lo­ca­tion near Jed­dah’s Al-Su­lai­ma­nia dis­trict, King Abdul Aziz In­ter­na­tional Air­port (KAIA) has be­come one of the main gate­ways into the King­dom not only for trav­el­ers but for mil­lions of pil­grims.

For many wor­ship­pers, the air­port’s south ter­mi­nal has been their first stop on a jour­ney of a life­time to per­form Hajj or Um­rah at the Grand Mosque in Makkah or visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Mad­i­nah.

Named af­ter the King­dom’s founder, the ter­mi­nal is just shy of cel­e­brat­ing its 40th an­niver­sary. With its iconic high ceil­ings that re­sem­ble the in­side of a tent, it has served mil­lions of pas­sen­gers and is one of the busiest air ter­mi­nals in the King­dom. It also serves as the head­quar­ters for Saudi Ara­bia’s na­tional air­line Sau­dia.

The first di­rect flight to New York City took off from KAIA in June 1981 and other in­ter­na­tional des­ti­na­tions were added that year. It was re­cently re­ported that KAIA ac­counts for 36 per­cent of the to­tal num­ber of pas­sen­gers in the King­dom.

The clo­sure of the south ter­mi­nal and the mov­ing of all op­er­a­tions to the air­port’s newly opened T1 ter­mi­nal — in­au­gu­rated by King Salman last Septem­ber and ca­pa­ble of han­dling 30 mil­lion pas­sen­gers a year — is aimed at en­sur­ing the air­port re­mains a key link be­tween the East and West and con­tin­ues to serve the city’s res­i­dents and wel­come pil­grims.

BACK­GROUND In­au­gu­rated by King Khalid in April 1981 af­ter trans­fer­ring all op­er­a­tions from its pre­vi­ous lo­ca­tion near Jed­dah’s AlSu­lai­ma­nia dis­trict, King Abdul Aziz In­ter­na­tional Air­port has be­come one of the main gate­ways into the King­dom not only for trav­el­ers but for mil­lions of pil­grims.

Supplied

Named af­ter the King­dom’s founder, the south ter­mi­nal is just shy of cel­e­brat­ing its 40th an­niver­sary.

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