Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz Airport

Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz Airport

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Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport or Prince Mohammad Airport (alternatively "Mohammed") is a regional airport in the western Saudi city of Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

. Opened in 1974, it handles mostly domestic flights, although it has limited scheduled international services to regional destinations such as Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, Doha
Doha
Doha is the capital city of the state of Qatar. Located on the Persian Gulf, it had a population of 998,651 in 2008, and is also one of the municipalities of Qatar...

, Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

, Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 and Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

. and It also handles charter international flights during the Hajj
Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

 season.

It is the fourth busiest airport in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, handling 1,592,000 passengers in 2004, including 378,715 Hajj charter passengers. It handles on average 20-25 flights a day, although this number triples during the Hajj season and school holidays.

As with other regional airports in Saudi Arabia, it is modestly equipped, with a simple single-storey terminal and a small parking apron. It has two runways: a main runway and an angled runway for cross-wind operations. There are plans to upgrade the airport to full international specification to handle the expected increase in passenger traffic to 3 million passengers a year.



Airlines and destinations



Incidents


On 16 March 2001, the airport was the scene of a bloody end to the hijacking of a Russian based Vnukovo Airlines Tupolev 154 Jet bound from Istanbul to Moscow carrying 162 passengers. The hijackers apparently Chechen Separatists, had landed at the airport and had demanded additional amount of fuel to fly to Afghanistan. After 18 hours of no negotiations, Saudi Security forces stormed the plane bringing an end to the hijack. There were three fatalities including a hijacker, a Turkish passenger and a Russian Air stewardess.