The Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY) launched Phase I of a major project to rehabilitate and upgrade Aden International Airport. Aden Airport will undergo full modernization and expansion under the project. For the first time, the airport will become a non-stop, world-class hub for international and domestic flights.
“The objective of this project is to bring Aden Airport up to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards as quickly as possible, connect Aden directly to the countries in the region, and increase the airport’s capacity to handle much greater numbers of flights and passengers,” said SDRPY director Hassan Alattas. “This facility has never functioned consistently to international standards before.”
The project will proceed in three phases. Phase I focuses on providing electricity, safety measures, and transportation. The external main gates and roads of the complex will be studied and redesigned, and passenger transport buses provided.
Phase II will consist of constructing and connecting vital service systems, such as telecommunications, navigation and air traffic control. Rehabilitation of the runway and taxi areas, gates, and tunnels connecting gates to aircraft will also be undertaken.
Phase III will focus on alignment of airport facilities and operations with ICAO standards in all areas, including safety, electricity supply, interior and exterior infrastructure, air traffic control and navigation.
The site of the airport first served as the location of Royal Air Force (RAF) Khormaksar, a British military air base, from 1917 to 1967. In the 1970s and 1980s it witnessed periodic battles during periods of instability, but by 1996 had grown to become Yemen’s second largest airport after Sana’a International, and its main terminal – built in the 1980s – was handling over a million passengers a year.
Aden Airport is both the oldest air transportation hub in Yemen and also currently the most important, with the potential to generate substantial income and jobs both for the densely populated Aden Governorate and for Yemen as a whole, as trade and tax revenues naturally increase.
In 2004, the province of Aden had a population of almost 590,000, amounting to 3% of the Yemeni populace at the time. By 2011, the city of Aden alone had grown to over 700,000, and by 2014, the governorate – with eight districts – had become home to nearly two million people.
The airport has been hobbled since 2015 and the outbreak of war in the region. The airport location is less than four miles from the center of Aden and currently operates six regional flights per week.