SATS setting up cargo handling shop in Saudi Arabia

A 150,000-tonne-capacity cargo facility, set to open in 2019 in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, will make SATS the first international cargo handler to operate in Saudi Arabia, said the Singapore-based aviation service provider. Located at Dammam’s King Fahd International Airport (KFIA), the new facility is part of a broader privatization program, set to officially commence in the third quarter of 2017, according to the kingdom’s General Authority of Civil Aviation.

Adjacent to the KFIA, a second airport, the Saudi Aramco Airport, serves Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest energy company, which extracts the majority of its crude from fields in the county’s southeast.  Despite generating a sizable share of the global oil output, the region’s KFIA airport has operated at below capacity, but an uptick passenger numbers suggests a turnaround. The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) announced that 9.4 million passengers and 84,803 flights were registered at KFIA in 2015. The airport also saw heavy action a quarter of a century ago when the U.S.-led allies used it as a base to fly bombing sorties in Iraq during the first Gulf War.

After opening in 1999 to commercial traffic, KFIA has become the aviation gateway to the region.  “The introduction of a second cargo terminal operator will result in enhanced services, options and increased air cargo capacity for the marketplace,” said Turki Al-Jawini, director general of King Fahd International Airport.

KFIA opened the doors to its new Cargo Village facility in April 2015. The facility measures more than 500,000 square meters in size and eliminates the need to ship through neighboring countries or from major airports to the west. Currently, DHL Express, TNT Express and UPS are operating as anchor tenants.


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