King Khalid International Airport (IATA: RUH, ICAO: OERK) (Arabic: مطار الملك خالد الدولي) is located 35 kilometres (22 mi) north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, designed by the architectural firm HOK.
The airport includes the terminals, mosque, the control tower and two parallel runways, each 4,200 metres (13,800 ft) long. It has been constructed to meet the increasing international and local air transport requirements for Riyadh region.
It is an alternative landing site for NASA's Space Shuttle.
The United States Air Force effectively took over these facilities temporarily from August 1990 through May 1991 as an airbase for aerial refueling tanker operations in support of the Gulf War. The military unit based here was the 1703rd Air Refueling Wing (Provisional).
The 1703rd ARW(P) was comprised mainly of KC-135 Stratotankers and used the north western firehouse as its headquarters of air operations. These tanker operations were supported by Patriot Missile battery elements of the United States Army's 5th Battalion 52d Air Defense Artillery, a large contingent of Security Forces from F. E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming, as well as small French and New Zealand military contingents of the Gulf war coalition.
In addition, during the 1990-1991 Gulf War, the airport was the home to 205 General Evacuation Hospital RAMC of the British Army, who were accommodated at the nearby Singles Compound.
Terminals, airlines and destinations
There are four main passenger terminals at the airport.
This terminal is used for all international flights, except those operated by Saudi Arabian Airlines
This terminal is used by Saudi Arabian Airlines for their international flights
This terminal is used for all domestic flights
The terminals are connected to each other by means of three linking buildings, These buildings are 168 metres (551 ft) long. Each terminal is triangularly shaped, it has a triangular base of 47,500 square metres (511,000 sq ft) area. The complex includes a modern VIPs terminal plus restaurants, cafeterias, airlines offices, government departments, hotels and rent-a-car companies counters, banks, first aid clinics and commercial shops.
The Royal Terminal
Heads of state and other high-ranking VIP visitors to the Kingdom are greeted in the Royal Pavilion. The Royal Pavilion has open spaces, garden areas, and fountains. A ceremonial hall 12.5 metres (41 ft) wide and 390 metres (1,280 ft) long connects it to the mosque. The design and geometry of the building are similar to those of the other terminals architecturally and in the aesthetic respect. Arriving guests can use either air bridges or escalators to enter the building from the aircraft parking area. The ceremonial area on the airside has space for special receptions involving honor guards and bands. Like the passenger terminals, the Royal Pavilion has a triangular plan, with a roof composed of 33 arched sections rising to a high point 30 metres (98 ft) above the ground level. Glass walls and windows illuminate the interior of the building.
General Aviation Terminal
A General Aviation Complex has been constructed north of runway number 1 for use by private aircraft and is reached by a special access road which runs north from the airport access highway. The general aviation facility includes a passenger terminal, aircraft parking and maintenance facilities, taxiways and parking for visitors, tenants and staff. In addition to privately-owned aircraft, this facility accommodates Saudia’s special flight services group. It's also home to Al-Salam Aircraft Corporation. Programmed Depot Maintenance (PDM) on Royal Saudi Air Force aircraft is performed at the uniquely designed facility.
Structure and facilities
Air Traffic Control Tower
Centrally located in the passenger terminal complex, between the Royal Pavilion and the mosque is the air traffic control tower standing at 81 metres (266 ft) high.
There are 19 separate floor levels in the tower, including the operations area at the base of the tower and a total of 1,230 square metres (13,200 sq ft) of floor space. Six of the 19 floors are considered main floors. These include the operational level at the base of the tower, two equipment floors, an observation floor, a service floor and the cab floor at the top of the tower from which the air traffic controllers overlook the entire airport. The operations floor houses the radar control center for the airport as well as conference rooms, offices and a training area. The two equipment level contain mechanical and electrical equipment and cables, and the service floor contains a kitchen, lounge and lavatories for personnel on duty in the cab. The cab itself contains controller operating positions and electronic and communications equipment. The tower is supplied with two sources of standby power should the regular source of power be interrupted. Once source is the standby power supply at the central power plant – three diesel engine generators. In addition, a 300 kilowatt diesel engine located in the tower itself can provide a secondary source of emergency power. The tower is outfitted with the most advanced electronic radar systems and data processing equipment available.
Passengers going from one terminal to another at King Khalid International Airport can utilize moving sidewalks for transportation. The moving walkways, the first to be installed at any Saudi airport, are located in the three link buildings that connect the International and Domestic terminals.
There is a total of 1,196 metres (3,924 ft) of the walkways, which are actually wide conveyor belts which operate at floor level and move at a speed of close to 1 metre per second (2.2 mph).
Additional passenger conveniences in the terminal complex include 80 elevators and escalators. In the parking garages, 16 escalators are provided and two serve the mosque.
The elevators, escalators and moving walkways all have the latest safety equipment installed. Should a fire occur, the elevators would automatically be recalled to the main floors and the doors opened. The escalators and moving sidewalks are equipped with fire and smoke detectors which will cause them to stop automatically should a fire be detected.
KKIA was the first airport in the Kingdom to install airbridges, to speed up handling and turnaround times. Each terminal has eight gates with airbridges effectively eliminating the need for bus journeys between the terminal buildings and waiting aircraft.
The design of KKIA Mosque is one of the most distinct landmarks in the airport by virtue of its Islamic architecture. It can accommodate 5,000 worshipers inside and another 5,000 in the plaza outside. Its location in the center of the passenger terminal establishes it as the most important structure on the airport and makes it the first sight visitors see as they leave the arrival area. The dome is 33 metres (108 ft) in diameter and towers 40 metres (130 ft) above the arrivals level roadway, higher than all of the other structures in the passenger complex with the exception of the control tower and minaret.
In the northeast corner of the mosque plaza, a minaret rises 39 metres (128 ft) above the plaza level. A spiral stairway inside the minaret provides access to loudspeakers that broadcast the daily five times call prayers. There are 5,030 square metres (54,100 sq ft) of floor space on the main floor of the mosque and another 765 square metres (8,230 sq ft) on the mezzanine floor. A Koranic library off of the main mosque floor has 50 square metres (540 sq ft) of user space and the same amount for storage space. The library, private offices and lavatories are located along the southeast on southwest walls.
KKIA has more than 500,000 square metres (5,400,000 sq ft) of landscaping. Over 225,000 trees, vines, shrubs and ground cover plants were used to landscape the airport site and the interior courtyards. A factor in the landscape design was the limited availability of irrigation water. All of the plants selected for the site are tolerant of heat, wind and dry soil conditions. Wherever possible, plants with a history of successful growth in the Riyadh area or similar environments were selected.
This facility has five separate Fire Houses, with several modern fire fighting vehicles, and trained firefighters. The location also has security equipment and a security force.
Two large three-level garages have been constructed directly in front of the passenger terminals, one on either side of the airport mosque. They are connected to the terminals and to the mosque by pedestrian walkways under the arrivals level roadway. The design capacity of the garages is 11,600 vehicles. The garages are built of cast-in-place concrete and each covered level is 4 metres (13 ft) high. Escalators and elevators are available in these garages, as well as stairways between the different levels.
The airport has had steadily increasing passenger numbers.
Accidents and incidents
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