Top 10 transport hubs in the Middle East
The region boasts an impressive array of existing and upcoming connecting gateways, providing vital domestic and international links by air, sea and rail track. Here we look at 10 of the most important.
10 – Abu Dhabi International Airport (UAE)
Abu Dhabi International Airport, the principal asset of Abu Dhabi Airports, is one of the fastest growing airport hubs in the world, currently serving more than 96 destinations in 56 countries. In the next couple of years passenger numbers are expected to hit twenty million, prompting the development of the Midfield Terminal Complex.
9 – Port of Fujairah (UAE)
Operational since 1983, this is the only multi-purpose port on the Eastern seaboard of the United Arab Emirates. The port offers comprehensive facilities for a wide range of requirements such as general and bulk cargo including oil, acting as an important link between the UAE and the Indian subcontinent and eastern Africa.
8 – Kuwait International Airport (Kuwait)
Located on the coast at Farwaniyah, 15.5 kilometers south of Kuwait City, Kuwait International Airport is the country’s leading transport node, a vital connection given the lack of wide-reaching rail links. A new $3 billion terminal is under construction, attracting huge interest from international developers and will be able to handle 13 million passengers annually (from 2017) with scope to increase this to 25 million.
7 – Riyadh Railway Station (Saudi Arabia)
The Saudi capital’s rail station is an important terminus, acting as the starting point for train travel to Dammam in the Eastern Province, one of the most economically active regions in the country. King Abdullah has extravagant plans to build a new metro station in Riyadh, which will feature gold-plated walls.
6 – Port of Duqm (Oman)
With its deep draft, lengthy quay walls, and expansive basin, the Port of Duqm on the south-eastern seaboard of Oman has the trappings of a world-class, multipurpose commercial gateway. And as the principal anchor of a huge Special Economic Zone envisioned at Duqm, it also has the potential to develop into one of the Middle East’s largest ports over the long term.
5 – Abu Dhabi Metro (UAE)
Though not a reality, this proposed scheme is a vital part of Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030. The Department of Transport plans one 18 km line, five kilometres of which will be underground, to run through the centre of the main Abu Dhabi island, serving the central business district and major attractions. A light railway is also among the proposals.
4 – Jeddah Islamic Port (Saudi Arabia)
Serving the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, Jeddah Islamic Port lies on the Red Sea and accounts for around 60 percent of the country’s imported sea freight handling. It has grown from 10 berths in 1976 to around 60 today, and can accommodate the shipping industry’s largest commercial vessels.
3 – Dubai International Airport (UAE)
One of the busiest airports in the world in terms of international passengers, Dubai International is operated by the Dubai Airports Company and is the home base of international airlines Emirates, FlyDubai and Emirates SkyCargo. Its three terminals can accommodate 80 million passengers annually and employs nearly 60,000 staff.
2 – Khalifa Port (UAE)
The seafaring gateway into Abu Dhabi. Located in Taweelah, midway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the deep water Khalifa Port is the first semi-automated container port in the region, having been constructed on a reclaimed island. Currently, the port serves 17 shipping lines, offers direct services and direct connections to more than 40 international destinations as well as transhipment at the world’s main hubs.
1 – Hamad International Airport (Qatar)
This exciting new airport opened in April this year, taking the place of Doha International.
Home to five-star airline Qatar Airways, this architecturally stunning, supremely efficient and truly welcoming airport is a genuine gateway to the world, serving over 360,000 flights and 30 million passengers every year. Five planes either land or take off from all corners of the world every three minutes.
It is the first airport to be designed specifically for the use of the A380, with its maintenance hangar the largest in the world and able to house 13 aircrafts at any one time.
Designed to deal with growing volumes of traffic seen at its predecessor, planning took place in 2003 and construction began in 2005. The airport (terminal and runway) has been built five kilometres east of the older Doha international airport and is spread over an area of 9,000 acres.
Plans are in place for the hub to handle 50 million passengers annually, and this could even rise to nearer 100 million. It is expected to deal with two million tonnes of cargo also, making it a vital logistical base as well as a connector of people to places.