August 6 2019  |  Airlines & Airports

The Design Solution to support commercial planning at Riyadh

By Mary Jane Pittilla


The development of Terminal 3 at Riyadh King Khalid International Airport will result in a stronger commercial planning approach

UK-based practice The Design Solution has been appointed by Riyadh Airports Company (RAC) to undertake commercial planning as part of a major redevelopment program at Riyadh King Khalid International Airport (KKIA).

The contract is part of a US$4.4 billion long-term national program to radically update the Kingdom’s airports, including raising capacity and enhancing infrastructure at King Khalid International Airport.

Pragma Consulting also form part of the team advising on the commercial aspects of the project.

In 2016, The Design Solution was appointed by DAA International to carry out commercial planning and design of the new Terminal 5 at Riyadh followed by the design of the walk-through travel value store.

The first phase of the latest project involves renovations for Terminal 3, which has been closed since August last year, and Terminal 4, which has never been occupied, with both due for completion in 2020.

The development will expand capacity, improve services and dramatically transform the commercial offer, with each terminal having a walkthrough duty free shop and their own shops, cafes and restaurants.

The development of T3 and T4 will adjust passenger operations across all the airport’s terminals, including the reallocation of domestic and international passengers and a stronger commercial planning approach.

The planning includes a new centralized commercial area post-security between T1 and T2, before passengers depart through either of the two terminals that will then act as piers.

Graeme Johns, Planning Director at The Design Solution, explains the challenge of the Riyadh project: “We are honored to have been selected to support the airport in developing its ambitious vision and, following our retail design work here in 2016, we are also delighted to once again be partnering with Pragma in its consultancy role.

“The team has managed to achieve a classic commercial plan for both Terminals 3 and 4, creating a central heart in each terminal immediately after the walkthrough duty free stores. These feature unusually high shopfront zones where the concessionaires can maximize their impact. The potential for T1 and T2 is very exciting with the major new extension being designed specifically with commerce in mind but also delivering huge operational benefits for departing passengers.”

He continued: “Investment in airport capacity and facilities in the Middle East is second only to Asia Pacific and, while we see amazing new greenfield projects such as Abu Dhabi Midfield – another TDS project – there is also a crucial need for airports such as Riyadh to demonstrate vision and commitment to update historic facilities to ensure they can address the region’s continuing growth in traffic.”

Gelban AlGelban, Vice President Commercial, Riyadh Airports Company, outlined the company’s vision: “We are undertaking major transformations in Riyadh Airports as part of privatizing the Aviation Sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, therefore we are always seeking opportunities to optimize KKIA’s commercial returns, enhance the passenger’s experience and play a major role in promoting our strategic goals, such as being among the top 50 airports in the world. Our work with The Design Solution produced an outstanding design through redefining our commercial layout to serve our passenger’s needs and create a newly unique experience.”

Abdulaziz Algoufi, Commercial Analytics Manager, Riyadh Airports Company, added: “Given the demonstrated track record of The Design Solution, appointing them was a key success factor as their expertise is highly capable in accommodating our commercial strategy and desired passenger experience through an outstanding data-driven design. In fact, the new design aims to enable KKIA to increase its commercial offering by 40% and enhance the passenger experience through an additional 25% area allocated for passenger facilities.”

Traffic at KKIA reached a new record of 27.9 million in 2018. Aligned with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, the airport is carrying out a three-phase radical redevelopment of infrastructure, runways, baggage areas, aircraft parking, and a new road network. The program plans to take the airport’s annual passenger capacity at its five terminals from the current 20 million to 80 million by 2035.

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