The new Prince Muhammad Bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah, Saudi Arabia, has commenced test operations with the landing of a Saudi Arabian Airlines domestic flight.
The airport was supposed to carry out its trial operations last week but it was delayed due to a sandstorm that hit various parts of the country and resulted in the suspension of domestic and international flights.
Flight SV1435 was the first to land at the airport which was followed by the take off of flight SV1476.
While most of the flights will be operating from the new airport, there are some flights that will operate from the old facility. To avoid confusion due to the operation of both the premises, passengers will be informed about which airport they would land or take off from.
Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said that it would carry on the trials for a limited period of time until its formal launch.
Al Arabiya quoted GACA as saying: "The test run aims to assess the readiness of all systems, tools and organs as a prelude for the commercial operation of the airport, which will have an annual capacity of eight million passengers in the first phase."
Madinah receives approximately 11 million visitors annually and with the new airport, the aviation traffic is expected to increase by 27%.
Around $1.4bn has been invested in building the airport that occupies almost four million square meters.
With the expansion, its current passenger capacity of eight million will be increased to 12 million. It will be equipped to receive up to 160 aircraft of various types every day.
The airport will also have ten luggage conveyors and six waiting halls with a combined area of 10,500m2.