Named after King Abdulaziz Al Saud, King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA or Jeddah Airport) is the leading airport and main gateway in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). In fact, it is the busiest airport in Saudi Arabia and the third largest in the kingdom. It is located 19 kilometres from Jeddah, the country’s major commercial hub and second largest city. It is the first international airport to be constructed under the program of developing international airports by the Saudi Arabian government.
Several airlines operate at the airport. These include Air Afrique, Air Algerie, Air France, Air India, Alitalia, Air Mauritius, Bangladesh Biman, British Airways, Cameroon Airlines, Cyprus Airways, Dallo Air, Egypt Air, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Gulf Air, Iran National Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Kenya Airways, Libyan, Lufthansa, Malaysian Airlines, Middle East Airlines, Nigerian Airways, Olympic Airways, Oman Aviation, Pakistan International Airlines, Palestinian Airlines, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Brunei Airlines, Royal Jordanian, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Somali Airlines, Sudan Airways, Swiss Air, Syrian Arab Airlines, Trans World Airlines, Tunis Air, Turkish Airlines, and Uzbekistan Airlines.
Jeddah is located near the Islam’s holy city of Mecca. Because of this, the Hajj Terminal was built at the airport specifically for pilgrims who participate in rituals during the Hajj held every year. It offers many facilities and can handle hundreds of thousands of tourists at any given time.
Designed by Bangladeshi engineer Fazlur Rahman Khan of architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merill LLP, the Hajj Terminal received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1983 for the great design of its roofing system. It is also considered as one of the largest air terminals in the world, joining the ranks of Beijing Capital International Airport, Dubai International Airport, and Hong Kong International Airport.
The other terminals are the North Terminal which serves all foreign air carriers, and the South Terminal that handles Saudi Arabian, Mas Air, and Sama Airlines. It is one of the most striking air terminals in the world in terms of architecture. There is also a VIP Terminal which, as the name suggests, is used exclusively by official guests, heads of state, and kings.
Services and Facilities
King Abdulaziz International Airport has three parallel runways and several terminals with many facilities.
The Hajj Terminal features a wide range of facilities for pilgrims. These include prayer areas, rest areas, banks, currency exchange counters, post office, telephone facilities, markets, restaurants, general information desks, airline information counters, medical clinic, and first aid services.
The North Terminal has 14 departure gates, a cafeteria, and a restaurant. On the other hand, the South Terminal has two public restaurants and a hotel with 60 rooms and is located about 100 metres east of the Arrivals main entrance.
Private operators offer limousine services to passengers arriving at the airport, with routes to Jeddah, Makkah, and Medina. A trolley service is also available at the South and North terminals.