Dammam King Fahd International Airport (Arabic: مطار الملك فهد الدولي) (IATA: DMM, ICAO: OEDF) is located 15 kilometers (about 10 miles) northwest of Dammam (Saudi Arabia). It is the largest airport in the world in terms of land area (780 km²), thus making it larger than the nearby country of Bahrain. The airport's basic infrastructure was complete by the end of 1990, which allowed the Allied forces engaged in the first Gulf War in early 1991 to use the field for the storage of military aircraft. The General Authority of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia finally opened the new Dammam King Fahd International Airport on November 28, 1999 to commercial traffic, and all airlines transferred their operations from Dhahran airport, which had been in use until then. The new Dammam airport serves the entire Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia and in particular the growing urban complex made up of Dammam, Dhahran, Al Khobar, Qatif, Ras Tanura, while its catchment area also covers Jubail with total population of about 2 million served. The airport is the third major hub for Saudi Arabian Airlines, and furthermore was a hub for short-lived Sama Airlines.
The airport, in the Eastern Province of the country, is located between Qatif and Dammam, about 22 km away from Dammam. It is linked to population areas by two major roads, the northern exit, which used to be the only one, links the airport with Qatif as a 2-lane highway. The southern exit links the Airport with Dammam as a 3-lane highway to King Fahd Road which is now considered as the main road to the airport. Abu Hadriyah Highway (Arabic: ابوحدريّة), serves as the airport's eastern border while Dammam-Riyadh Highway serves as a southern border.
On the airport's southern border, Saudi Aramco occupies an area of 250 km² (97 mi²) which is used for oil drilling and transportation facilities. However, the area is being claimed by many investors in order to urbanize it for residential and commercial use which if happened will utilize that strategic location, an example would be Ghannam 4 (Airport Jewel) which is the first and only urbanization attempt that had taken place before is was stopped due to involvement in the issue of Aramco Reservations which is the reason why the airport is still far away from the city.
The airport was constructed by Bechtel, completed later than scheduled and at a cost that was over what was budgeted. Bad transport roads led many locals to fly via the airport in neighboring Bahrain. The roads have since been improved. Passenger numbers have increased somewhat, but it remains a largely idle (excess capacity) airport due to significant portion of the public being used to travel via Bahrain Airport for international flights. King Fahd International Airport is fully operational throughout the year.
The passenger terminal has six storeys of which three are allocated for passenger processing. The third level is for arrivals, the sixth level is for departures, and the fourth level is for boarding. There are two partial levels: the mezzanine service level and the mezzanine level (which is the uppermost level).
The passenger terminal’s total area is 327,000 m² (3,519,798 ft²). Approximately 247,500 m² (2,664,067 ft²) were built in the first phase, in addition to 11 fixed passenger boarding bridges serving 15 gates out of an original design capacity of 31 fixed boarding bridges. The terminal is equipped with several customer counters of which 66 were allocated to Saudi Arabian Airlines (now shared with Nas Air), 44 to foreign airlines and the rest for Customs and Immigration.
Services and amenities
King Fahd International Airport was the first among Saudi Arabia's international airports to adopt duty-free markets. In addition to the spaces allocated to duty-free markets, the airport has a separate area for shops specializing in the sale of gifts and all passenger related goods. This area includes restaurants, cafeterias, and banks, and is located on the arrivals level. The distinction is largely meaningless however as the Kingdom has no sales or import duties on any products. In addition, there are two Krispy Kremes in the airport located in the departure and arrival areas. Recently, as part of larger improvement plan, several shops and services were opened including smoking rooms and indoor playgrounds.
The airport mosque is built on the roof of the car park and in the middle of a landscaped area of 46,200 m² (497,292 ft²). It has an architectural design that combines modern style with the old Islamic style (arches, domes, and other Islamic decorations and carvings on the doors, mihrab, and mimbar). The mosque accommodates two thousand worshipers.
Access to the mosque can be easily gained from the passenger terminal through two enclosed, air-conditioned bridges equipped with moving belts, in addition to a third open bridge.
The Royal Terminal is reserved for the Saudi Royal Family, government personnel, and official guests. The terminal was built on an area of 16,400 m² (176,528 ft²) and has four bridges linking the terminal and aircraft. It is luxuriously furnished and decorated, and includes extensively landscaped exteriors and grounds. Despite its specialized purpose, the terminal is rarely used by the Royal Family, who generally prefer to utilize a similar special terminal at Dhahran International Airport (Now King Abdulaziz Airbase).
Airlines and destinations
The airport has two parallel runways with a length of 4,000 meters (13,124 feet) each, in addition to taxiways parallel to the runways and a cross taxiway to connect the two runways. A distance of 2,146 meters (7,040 feet) separates the two runways to facilitate simultaneous takeoff and landing operations. For more convenience and shorter taxiing durations, the east runway is usually used by Saudi Aramco while commercial airlines use the west one, however situation changes if one of the runways is undergoing maintanance. Space has been set aside for the construction of a third parallel runway.
A road for ground support equipment (GSE) runs along the western side of the central terminal. It is designed to allow GSE to have access to aircraft and also to facilitate the movement of baggage vehicles from aircraft to baggage areas.
There are ten main Operations Services areas providing facilities for the operation of the airport.
The two-story air cargo building is constructed on an area of 39,500 m² (425,174 ft²) and has a capacity of 94,000 metric tons (103,617 tons) of incoming and outgoing cargo.
The terminal’s design allows for transforming the operation system to a fully automatic system equipped with multi-level racks and a container stacking system. When the air cargo facility becomes fully automatic, its capacity will be increased to 176,000 metric tons (194,007 tons) per year.
The control tower stands 85.5 meters (281 feet) high, equivalent to the height of a 30-story building. The height allows visibility of all parts of the airport operations area. Its total floor area is 7,960 m² (85,681 ft²), and it contains the following three main sections:
The total area of the car park is 176,752 m² (1,902,543 ft²), distributed among three covered floors. The parking area accommodates 4,930 cars. Cars enter the car park through a roadway that leads to the second floor. There is direct access to the passenger terminal from the parking on the first floor which lies under the access road with exits leading to the main roads. Parking charges are 1 Saudi Riyal per hour.
Two open parking areas are available beside the rental car parking area to accommodate additional cars.
Saudi Aramco Facilities
Saudi Aramco is responsible for supplying fuel and maintaining fuel installations. These include six large tanks with a capacity of 40,000 barrels each, in addition to pumping equipment, filters, loading stations, and the distribution valve network. Saudi Aramco operates regular flights for its personnel, which cover Dammam, Haradh, Tanajib, Shaybah, Hawtah, Al Ahsa, Khurais, Riyadh, Jeddah and Yanbu, using Boeing 737 and Dash-8 equipment.
The General Aviation terminal on the east side of Dammam airport is being used exclusively by Saudi Aramco, the 2009 statisitcs for the terminal was 273,000 passengers. In addition, an advanced fleet of fuel tankers provides fuel services to all types of commercial aircraft.
Food preparation and Catering Building
This building is a 17,287 m² (186,075 ft²), single-story in-flight catering facility, capable of producing 8,000 aircraft meals a day plus 1,000 meals for staff and 300 for the Royal Pavilion kitchen.
Nursery and landscaping
King Fahd International Airport has its own plant nursery with a total area of 215,579 square metres (2,320,470 sq ft) which encompasses three green houses and 36,400 square metres (392,000 sq ft) of green fields. The nursery supplies the airport gardens and planted areas with trees and plants.
King Fahd International Airport consistently has over 2.5 million passengers per year and at present over 4 million passengers use the airport annually.
2008 traffic statistics
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