Luminous Ambiance: Abha's Foster-Adorned Horizon

AbhaImage Source: Foster + Partners


Saudi Arabia invites bids for a transformative venture, a public-private partnership to modernize Abha Airport in the southwest. Designed by Foster + Partners, the expansion envisions a second passenger terminal, a taxiway, and an aircraft apron. The phased project, set to unveil its terminal in 2028, includes ancillary infrastructure like access roads, a car park, and utilities. Foster's design weaves interconnected clusters inspired by regional villages, creating a harmonious blend of functionality and cultural aesthetics.


In a visionary leap toward modernization, Saudi Arabia beckons bidders for a groundbreaking endeavor, the expansion and revitalization of Abha Airport in the southwest. Spearheaded by the Saudi Civil Aviation Holding Company and the National Centre for Privatization, this public-private partnership envisions a metamorphosis guided by the architectural prowess of Foster + Partners.

The blueprint unfolds with the addition of a second passenger terminal, meticulously crafted by the renowned London-based architect. Beyond mere functionality, the design embodies a synthesis of aesthetics and cultural resonance. Foster's vision for the terminal is manifested in interconnected clusters, each tailored to specific functions and passenger needs. These clusters are artfully interspersed with outdoor courtyards and walkways, paying homage to the architectural heritage of the region's villages.

The phased development, set to materialize in two or three stages, charts a transformative trajectory for Abha Airport. The terminal, expected to greet its first passengers in 2028, symbolizes not just an infrastructural augmentation but a testament to Saudi Arabia's commitment to modernity and cultural preservation.

Beyond the terminal, the comprehensive project encompasses crucial ancillary elements. Access roads, a thoughtfully designed car park, and essential utilities, including a substation and sewage treatment plant, form integral components of the airport's evolution.

Abha Airport, currently the kingdom's fifth-largest, is poised to ascend in stature. After the expansion, it is projected to accommodate up to 8 million passengers annually, solidifying its status as a small-to-medium-sized facility.

Situated in proximity to the Yemen border, Abha Airport has weathered challenges during Saudi Arabia's intervention in its neighbor's civil war. This modernization initiative not only enhances the airport's capacity but also signifies a resilient stride toward a progressive aviation landscape.


As Saudi Arabia orchestrates the bid for the Abha Airport expansion, Foster + Partners' architectural tapestry promises a luminous horizon for the region. The fusion of functionality with cultural aesthetics, evidenced in interconnected clusters and outdoor spaces, marks a paradigm shift in airport design. Beyond serving as a testament to modern infrastructure, the Abha Airport metamorphosis becomes a canvas where tradition and innovation converge, painting a visionary portrait of aviation's future in the heart of Saudi Arabia.

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