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Saudi Arabia unveils plans for massive new airport capable of 180 million annual passengers

Saudi Arabia on Monday announced plans for a new airport in Riyadh capable of eventually receiving 180 million passengers a year, as part of the kingdom’s efforts to diversify its economy away from petrodollars.  The airport will be named after 86-year-old King Salman and was announced by his son, 37-year-old de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).  The project is designed to cover 57 square kilometres, with the aim of accommodating up to 120 million travellers by 2030 and 185 million by 2050. The airport will be owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, chaired by the crown prince.

Twelve new hotels are set to open next year as part of the Red Sea Development Project, and the $500bn NEOM megacity also includes plans for a ski resort.

Saudi Arabia hopes to increase the cargo of airfreight passing through the country from 0.5 million tons today to 4.5 million tons by 2030, and has also announced plans for a new state airline, RIA, which will look to compete with state carriers in Qatar and the UAE.

Read the full story at Middle East Eye

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