ABHA: The airport in Al-Ola started operating yesterday when the very first flight from the Capital Riyadh landed at the Prince Abdul Majeed bin Abdul Aziz Airport.

The first Sixty six passengers were officially welcomed by onlookers and officials. The airport will serve two weekly flights from Riyadh and is part of a new generation of airports GACA have been constructing, refurbishing and modernizing. As well as serving passengers these will also create jobs.

Chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities Prince Sultan bin Salman, General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) President Faisal Al-Sughair, Saudi Arabian Airlines Company (Saudia) Director General Khaled Al-Molhem were among the officials to welcome the first passengers.

Speaking to the press President Faisal stated that already the Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Airport in Tabuk started operations in the middle of this year while Najran’s new airport began operations last month.

He also stated to the visitors and press:

“These new airports will ensure the comfort of passengers and will cope with increasing number of travelers between Saudi cities,” he said. Al-Sughair said work on the construction of Prince Abdul Majeed bin Abdul Aziz Airport began in 2008 and was completed in the middle of last year.”

This airport in particular was designed to serve more than 100,000 travelers every year with four daily flights.

The airport is built on an area of more than 13 million square meters and will serve the region within a wide radius of 250km. It is situated quite close to the pre-Islamic archaeological site of Madain Saleh in the south east of the Al Ola region.

The president also explained that the main lounge was built on an area of 37500 sq. m. and the main runway is 3,050 meters long and 60 meters wide. He said the airfield, built on an area of 16,800 sq. m. can accommodate three large aircraft at the same time.

Other facilities on the site include a rescue and fire-fighting building to accommodate the personnel, an area of 564 square meters for security staff, and another building for various other services that will cover around 1,028 square meters.