DACO to Transform KFIA into Regional Hub
Source: Asharq Al-Awsaat
Dammam Airports Company (DACO) is planning to transform King Fahd International airport into a regional hub in terms of passengers and cargo volumes as the airport expands its infrastructure and welcomes new airlines, according to DACO CEO Turki Abdullah Al-Jawini.
The airport is positioning itself as a regional passenger and cargo hub, added Jawini.
“We would like to take advantage of the strategic location of King Fahd International airport as the Kingdom’s eastern gateway; its proximity to one of the largest sea ports, Dammam Port and its proximity to (other) GCC capitals. All this combined can make the perfect ingredients to make a logistic cargo hub at the airport,” he said.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the sidelines of the 18th Airport Show in Dubai, UAE, Jawini indicated that the impact of this strategy is becoming clearer from today, and many airlines and shipping companies are interested in the airport.
Jawini believes the transformations in Saudi Arabia and the economic reforms have greatly contributed to attracting investors and businessmen.
“The task today is to be ready to keep up with the economic growth in Saudi Arabia,” he asserted.
DACO was established in July 2017 as a private company owned by the Government and wholly owned by Civil Aviation Holding Company, in preparation for the privatization of King Fahd International Airport, within the objectives of Vision 2030.
When asked about features that attract passengers to King Fahd Airport, Jawini indicated that it’s the experience as whole, especially that the airport is easily accessed from cities in the region.
There are currently 37 airlines serving the airport, and soon new companies and destinations will be announced.
He stressed that one of the objectives of the airport strategy is to increase international direct flights and revealed ongoing talks with international airlines.
The CEO pointed out there are positive signs “from some companies eager to start operating, and I think it is a matter of time” until that happens. He added the airport’s aim in the coming months is to work to reach the desired goal.
The first-quarter passenger figures for this year were “very promising,” said Jawini, with 4.2 percent growth in passenger numbers compared to the same quarter last year.
“The airport over the last few years has seen a very positive growth trend,” he indicated, adding that the airport expects a 6 to 8 percent growth this year. The airport served 9.8 million passengers last year.
“We are always studying the number of passengers and airport’s capacity,” stated the CEO and a new hall or section will be opened once needed.
As for smart technologies used for the enter and exit of travelers, Jawini revealed there is a full coordination with the authorities and boarding gates were installed and the technology will be used in all aspects that serve the passenger.
DACO has signed two strategic agreements with Vanderlande and Serco Middle East within the company’s plan to enhance operational abilities of the airport.
The agreement with Vanderlande was signed to develop a new baggage-handling system at the airport that will help make travel procedures smoother for airport personnel, passengers and airlines. The deal with Serco Middle East to install fire and rescue services at the airport.