Published on February 29th, 2016 | by Jim Lee


daa International wins Multi-Million euro contract in Saudi Arabia

On 22nd February, it was announced that daa International had won a multi-million euro contract to manage and operate the new Terminal 5 facility at Saudi Arabia’s King Khaled International Airport (KKIA) in Riyadh. The agreement to operate the new terminal in Riyadh, is the second major contract award for daa’s overseas businesses in the Middle East in the past two months. In December, daa International’s sister company ARI was awarded a 10-year retail contract at Abu Dhabi International Airport’s new Midfield Terminal (see here).

daa logodaa International was chosen to operate the new 106,500 sq metre (1,146,356 sq ft) terminal, which has a capacity of up to 12 million domestic passengers per year, ahead of five other international airport operators. KKIA, which is located 35 km north of Riyadh, is Saudi Arabia’s main gateway airport and it replaced Riyadh Airport (close to the city centre), which is now a Royal Saudi Air Force airbase. It opened for operations in late 1983 and welcomed a record 22.3 million passengers last year. Currently there are around 35 airlines using the airport for scheduled passenger service. The land area allocated for this airport is among the largest in the world. The airport occupies an area of 315 square kilometres (78,000 acres), has a central control tower – 81 metres (266 ft) high (one of the world’s tallest) – and two parallel runways, which are each 4,260 metres (13,980 ft) long.

In addition there is a general aviation complex, which has been constructed north of runway number 1, for use by private aircraft and is reached by a special access road which runs north from the airport access highway. The general aviation facility includes a passenger terminal, aircraft parking and maintenance facilities, taxiways and parking for visitors, tenants and staff. In addition to privately owned aircraft, this facility accommodates Saudia’s special flight services group. It’s also home to Alsalam Aircraft Company, Ltd. Programmed Depot Maintenance (PDM) on Royal Saudi Air Force aircraft is performed at the uniquely designed facility.

Riyadh King Khaled International Airport (bing maps)

Riyadh King Khaled International Airport

Commenting on the award of the contract to manage and operate the new Terminal 5 facility, daa International Chief Executive Colm Moran said; “daa International is delighted to have won this highly significant contract at King Khaled International Airport and we look forward to providing a fantastic travel experience for passengers.”

“This is daa International’s first airport management contract and our intention is to build on this win by adding further significant contracts in the months and years ahead,” Mr Moran added.

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) awarded the management contract to daa International following a competitive tender process that included high profile airport operators from Europe, Asia and Africa.

“We are proud to have been selected ahead of such formidable competition, and we will work closely with GACA to ensure that daa International more than delivers on its commitments to provide a world class product to customers and also to generate significant commercial revenues at Terminal 5,” Mr Moran said.

“This is the first project of its kind for GACA and we are very excited to be working with daa International who submitted a very attractive and competitive bid for managing and operating this brand new terminal at KKIA”, said GACA President Sulaiman Al Hamdan.

The contract, which is for an initial period of five years, comprises all terminal management services within T5. daa International will also be responsible for managing all third party commercial tenants such as airport retail and car parking within the new terminal complex.

Artists impression of T5 in Riyadh

Artists impression of T5 in Riyadh

Currently there are four main passenger terminals at the airport with eight air bridges each, a mosque, covered and uncovered car parking for 11,600 vehicles, a Royal Terminal (for the Kingdoms Guests from Government Heads, and Saudi Royal family use). The terminals are connected to each other by means of three linking buildings. These buildings are 168 metres (551 ft) long. Each terminal is triangularly shaped; it has a triangular base of 47,500 square metres (511,000 sq ft) area. The complex includes a modern VIPs terminal plus restaurants, cafeterias, airline offices, government departments, hotels and rent-a-car counters, banks, first aid clinics and commercial shops.

Terminal 5, which is the flagship project of a significant investment by KKIA, is due to open later this year. T5 will replace Terminal 3 and will handle domestic flights. Terminal 1 is used for all international flights, except those operated by Air France, Saudia, and Nas Air which used Terminal 2 for their international flights. Terminal 4 is unused, having never been utilised since construction, and remains without air bridges. Passengers going from one terminal to another at King Khalid International Airport can utilize moving sidewalks for transportation. The moving walkways, the first to be installed at any Saudi airport, are located in the three link buildings that connect the International and Domestic terminals.

The new Terminal 5 is demand driven. Domestic passenger numbers at KKIA grew by 7.4% to 11.7 million last year, and there is strong demand for additional domestic air travel within Saudi Arabia.

Domestic passenger numbers at KKIA are forecast to increase by up to one-third over the next four years. Saudi Arabia’s two existing operators of domestic air services, Saudia and Flynas, both intend to expand their domestic networks, while a third operator Saudi Gulf will enter the market later this year.

Terminal 5 can accommodate 16 narrow-bodied aircraft or up to eight wide-bodied planes and has 60 check-in desks and 20 self-service check-in positions. It will have about 4,500 sq metres of retail and food and beverage outlets and a new car park with spaces for about 3,000 vehicles.

daa International will have a team of 15 people in Riyadh, who will comprise the senior management team for T5, and lead a core operations staff of about 90 people. daa International will also manage an additional 250 employees working in facilities management and cleaning, who will be employed by subcontractors to GACA. Browse this site for more information.

Riyadh terminal layout

Riyadh terminal

daa International, which is a subsidiary of daa, has three main strands of business – operations management, advisory services and training, which is carried out by the Dublin International Aviation Training Academy (DIATA). daa International has previously won a number of strategic advisory and training contracts.

daa International’s proposal for KKIA was centred on the theme of Transforming Together, and was built on the promise of a strong partnership with GACA to bring innovation to the airport, with a focus on customer service and commercial revenues, according to Mr Moran.

“The experience of the wider daa Group in operating profitable airports with no subvention from the State, coupled with the successful commissioning and operation of T2 were both highlighted within our proposal to GACA and we were also able to draw on daa’s proven ability to generate significant revenue from non-aeronautical sources such as retail, food and beverage and car parking,” he added.

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About the Author

Jim has had a life-long interest in military matters and aviation. Initially, he fused both of these interests together with a passion for military aviation, initially as a photographer. He has travelled extensively over the years and has been the guest of many European air forces, plus the air forces of the United States, Russia and others throughout the world. His first introduction to journalism coincided with an interest in the civil aviation industry was when he initially wrote for and later edited, ‘Aviation Ireland’, the club magazine of the Aviation Society of Ireland. Jim was a contributor to Flying in Ireland since its inception over 10 years ago and is now a key contributor to this site. He has also contributed items for a number of other aviation magazines and has produced a number of detailed contributions to Government policy documents, most recently the Irish Government’s White Paper on Defence. He is also deeply involved in the local community and voluntary sector and has worked both in local government and central government.

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