King Fahd Air Base in an inactivated military airfield that currently serves for commercial and civilian flights. It holds the record for the largest and widest airport in the world, covering over 780 square km. It is located in the eastern part of the country, about 20 km away from Dammam. It is connected to the human communities around it through two major highways. The place is named in the memory of King Fahd, one of Ibn Saud’s 45 sons. Ibn Saud is the first monarch of Saudi Arabia, after he managed to conquer and unify all the territories from the peninsula. He is the fourth of Ibn Saud’s sons who ruled the country, from 1982 until his death, in 2005. He died because of a powerful pneumonia and high fever and was buried at the Al Oud cemetery, close to other members of the royal family.
The current airport used to be a popular air base in the ’90s. The general infrastructure was built in 1990. The rest of it was finished by 1999. However, it was excellent for the conflicts in the surrounding areas, such as the Gulf War from 1991. It served as a pit stop and a storage site for the allied forces. King Fahd’s decision to allow the allied forces and especially the Americans to step on the Arabian lands was highly criticized by the citizens, as well as other countries. Osama bin Laden used to talk about this happening in his recorded footage as well.
The full construction of the airport was done in 1999. At that time, it was opened to civilian flights first. Months later, commercial planes were allowed to land too. It gained a huge popularity after being opened, therefore all the traffic from the Dhahran International Airport was directed here. This one was larger, built with a new technology and modernism, not to mention about the multitude of tasks it could fulfill.
Well known as a large military base, King Fahd Air Base soon became a civilian place. At the same time, it switched positions with the Dhahran International Airport, which was turned into a military base. With all these, there are still plenty of troops deployed at the base, but they are in a standby position. They just train in the current camps and prepare for any upcoming conflicts.
Unfortunately for the local authorities, King Fahd Air Base has a pretty bad reputation in the area. People used to rely on this airport due to the bad roads and the harsh possibility to reach the closest international airport from Bahrain. Since the roads were significantly improved, the amount of passengers dropped with a proportional rate. People complain about the long waiting time, the excessive controls and the problematic behavior of some employees. For this reason, many companies choose to transport their passengers to the Bahrain airport and then provide them with a free transportation to Dammam by road. Hopefully, things will improve in the upcoming years, at least for the huge possibilities of this place.