Saudi Arabia Reveals $450B Transportation, Infrastructure Expansion Plan

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The kingdom plans to build five airports and produce 200km of railway network–part of its connectivity program as it embarks on building a massive non-oil economy.

PKONWEB Report (Riyadh) — Plans to upgrade existing airports and establish new ones have been outlined by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (Gaca) under Saudi Arabia’s trillion-riyal National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP).

The authority has launched an eight-pronged plan to transform the kingdom into a regional hub for air travel and logistics, following the launch of the $450 billion (SAR1.7 trillion) NIDLP in January.

The development program would focus on private sector transportation and industry investments that could contribute $320 billion to the Saudi economy by 2030 as well as generate 1.6 million jobs for Saudi nationals.

Gaca plans to upgrade aviation infrastructure in light of Saudi Arabia’s potential for increasingly busy airways as it draws tourists to the kingdom through its Neom, Red Sea Project, and Qiddiya gigaprojects.

The Kingdom also envisages more than 30 million religious tourists as per Saudi Vision 2030–one of the goals of Vision 2030 is to have the Gulf country’s private sector operate much of the transportation infrastructure — including airports and seaports — with the government serving as regulator.

Gaca said it would also liaise with the Ministry of Defense to explore if the size of banned airspace, which affects some travel routes, can be reduced.

During an investor conference in Riyadh, Saudi Transportation Minister Nabeel al-Amoudi said the kingdom plans to build five airports and produce 200km of railway network–part of its connectivity program as it embarks on building a massive non-oil economy.

In January 2019, the first flight to Neom Airport landed in Sharma with with 130 passengers on board two Saudi Airbus A320 planes. The airport will support tourists traveling to Neom, a $500 billion (SAR1.9 trillion) futuristic metropolis under development in the north-west of the kingdom.

NEOM, backed by the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, will operate as an independent economic zone that is powered solely by renewable energy sources and has its own laws and regulations.

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