Creating Opportunities Through New Business Model

by shariff mohammed | Dec 09, 2015

Yousef Al-Dhahri, King Fahad International Airport, Dammam (KFIAD) Director General explains to Saudi Commerce and Economic Review the how the Institution for Aviation studies, which is expected to takeoff  in 2018,  will change the dynamics and how it is going to set the growth trajectory of KFIAD.

As you have already announced the launch of Aviation Institution at KFIA,  what are your vision through this institution.

Yes, it's all set to launch the project  and it is expected to be commissioned in 2018. This will attract students and youths to the aviation industry. The institution will have highly qualified staff to train students in different sectors of aviation industry. We are planning to have facility to train pilots for all segments of aircrafts, operation modules of helicopters and airport ground services handling.  This will produce well trained and efficient pilots, technicians and officials required for aviation industry. Our vision is to train our youth in highly technocratic atmosphere.

You have also announced that KFIA will have aviation building by 2017, what are the investment opportunities in the project?

There are huge opportunities for investment in this project. This will be basically to cater service to all the international airlines. International companies will  provide high quality services. This will pave the way for other international aircrafts companies to come and join us.   Moreover it will encourage foreign airlines to explore opportunities in the region.

How many airlines are operating at the moment, and what are your plan to attract new airlines?

KFIA  has announced that the total number of airlines operating in the airport has reached 36. Among them are 3 European airlines: Lufthansa’s Dammam/Frankfurt flight, KLM’s Dammam/Amsterdam flight, and Turkish Airline’s Dammam/Istanbul flight and Dammam/Sabiha flight.

The airport enjoys a favorable location in the Eastern Region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where it is close to the one of the main cities. Its location has contributed positively to the constant growth in the number of travelers which reached 5 million in the first half of 2015, a 14.2 percent increase compared to the same period last year. Also during the first half of 2015 the number of flights increased by 7.5 percent compared to the same period last year, while the number of destinations increased to 57, consisting of 44 international destinations and 13 local ones.

Continuing its development, KFIA has installed 10 interactive e-guide machines to serve travelers and visitors by providing full information about all services and facilities offered in the airport. The e-guide also contains a survey to assess travelers’ satisfaction in order to further develop and improve services.

In addition, a 180 sqm leisure area has been created in the international departure hall to provide entertainment for travelers until departure time.

It is undergoing continuous development in all sections in accordance with the General Authority of Civil Aviation’s strategy to develop the civil aviation sector in the kingdom, and it is certain that the increased number of travelers and operating airlines are the result of the extensive efforts and cooperation among all parties. We are continuously enhancing capacity expansion to support airlines operating flights to Saudi Arabia and in the near future we will attract more international airlines to operate from KFIA, which we will announce once the agreements are signed.

The  GACA is working on implementing several future projects in the airport. In 2016, we will have additional first and business class passenger hall, the first ever mini-market in all the kingdom’s airports, long-term car parking, a gas station, and a 5-star hotel next to the airport. Also, KFIA is undergoing other development activities such as providing 5,500 seats to be allocated in all the passenger halls and renovating the rest rooms. 

Cargo Village was launched on April 6, 2015 to develop its air cargo facilities. This has attracted many leading international and regional cargo companies such as DHL, Express, Naqel, SMSA Express, TNT and UPS.

What are the incentives offered to the international airlines by the airport management?

There are numerous packages available to attract foreign airlines. We are offering 60 percent discount for new airlines and air bridge for all the airlines. If we compare these prices  with any other GCC countries it is low cost and we expect that this will attract more affluent customers.

Airport does not have an information center respond to the queries of passengers, Is there any measures for this?

The airport has its own customer relation center which works around the clock. In addition we have two dedicated numbers from which one can gather all the information related to his travel and airlines. Telephone inquiries can be done through  8831000 and 8834444.

What is the vision and objectives of the management  to attract investors into the upcoming expansion projects?

This is very crucial aspects when it comes to expansion projects. The management wants to strengthen the relationship between the authority and the private sector. We always prefer national private companies over foreign companies. We are expecting large participation of private sector in upcoming huge expansion projects. 


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