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How much does it cost to become a pilot?

Some people shy away from studying aviation because it is known to be a costly education, but how much does it really cost to become a pilot? And most importantly, is this education a profitable investment? When you compare the cost to the benefits, do you come out with a good profit? The benefits of becoming a pilot are widely well-known: you get one of the best salaries in the world, you gain a lot of prestige and you travel the world for a living. If we already know the benefits, all that’s missing is the cost, so let’s find that out. Types of flight training Before we talk about the price you need to know the different types of flight training available in the world, and which is considered better and why. Integrated training Integrated flight training is a full-time commercial flight training course. In integrated training, all the program is completed with the same flight training organization. Because all the training is done with the same establishment it is usually shorter than modular training. A full time integrated course usually takes between 18 months and 2 years. And the student is qualified to take a CPL exam after that, if they pass the exam they get the license. In addition to that, students who complete integrated flight training can complete the course with fewer flight hours than the number of hours required if completing it through modular training. Because this is High quality, intensive training, many airlines prefer to hire students from integrated training courses. Modular training Modular flight training means completing your flight training one step at a time. It’s usually cheaper than integrated training, but it often takes years. That is why it is usually the route people take when they learn aviation as a hobby, not a career. You can take modular training while working a full-time job in any other field. Keep in mind that in modular training you will be required to buy your books and materials, which do not come cheap, as well as some equipment such as a headset, which is definitely not cheap. Another important point is that prices change, so the overall cost may change while you are working on your modules. Modular flight training is usually done in the following order: Private Pilots Licence (PPL) Airline Transport Pilots Licence (ATPL) Hour Building Commercial Pilots Licence Type Rating Studying aviation around the world: How much does it cost? Let’s take a quick tour around the world and find the cost of aviation training in different countries. Keep in mind though that this cost does not include accommodation or transportation, so if you do not already live in one of those countries you have to add those costs as well. How much does it cost to become a pilot in the USA? The cost of becoming a CPL certified pilot starts from $70,000 in the USA. Add to that the cost of getting an ATPL, and the cost of flying the required 1500 hours to be eligible for applying to airline positions and the cost comes to around $200,000. However, it may cost much more if the student takes some time to finish all the required licenses and ratings. The plane used the most for training in the USA is Cessna, either Cessna 152 or Cessna 172. Some integrated training programs charge even more than this, but as mentioned earlier, integrated training costs more but yields faster and better results. How much does it cost to become a pilot in the UK? In the UK, it takes around two years and can cost over $127,000 to get the commercial Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL). Unlike the USA, an integrated course in the UK often costs less than a modular one, but not by much. For instance, it now costs around £ 90,000 and takes around 18 months to get an ATPL through an integrated program. On another note, however, the cost of living in the UK is much higher than in most other countries. That is why it is considered a costly option for non-residents. How much does it cost to become a pilot in Australia? To get a Commercial Pilot Licence in Australia, you can get integrated training for around $65,000. The integrated training program takes 18 months. Of course after this CPL you still need to train further to get your IR, ATPL, to be ready for an airline job, this will double the overall cost. It is also noteworthy to mention that while the accommodation may be a bit cheaper than the UK, transportation is much more expensive. How much does it cost to become a pilot in India? In India, you have to pass 6 written exams before you can start flight training. The flight training itself costs around $86,000, however, this largely depends on the duration of the training which varies greatly from one place to another. A common problem in Indian training centers is the lack of training aircraft, they are often so few that students have to wait in line to finish their required training hours. How much does it cost to become a pilot in South Africa? It takes around 18 months and costs around $50,000 to get your CPL in South Africa. Keep in mind though that you will need further training and certificates to get a job in an airline, like instrument rating and type rating, for example, type rating alone would cost you another $50,000. And of course, transportation to and from South Africa will make a considerable sum if you do not live in a nearby country. To learn more about becoming a pilot see also: Want to be a captain? This is how you become a successful pilot Captain pilot: A glimpse into the life of pilots

Women in the cockpit: Famous female pilots in history

Aviation used to be a male-dominated field, aka a man job, but some amazing women through history decided to choose the road less taken and learn how to fly. These early female pilots were the pioneers who opened the gates for the upcoming generations. Now it is almost natural to find women in the cockpit. Some of those names are so famous that you must have heard of them before, and some are less known, but they are all equally strong and impressive. So let’s take a look at some of the most distinguished female pilots. Raymonde de Laroche [caption id="attachment_2696" align="alignnone" width="949"] Raymonde de Laroche[/caption] Born in 1882, in Paris, Raymonde de Laroche was the first woman to get a pilot license. Elise Raymonde Deroche was an actress, but watching the demonstration flights by the Wright brothers in 1908  in Paris, as well as meeting various aviators, ignited a passion towards the field, and she started to dream about flying herself. Tutored by Charles Voisin, a pilot, and an airplane builder, she flew for the first time in 1909 and got her official pilot license in 1910. She broke several world records during her career, first for flying a distance of 323 kilometers, and for flying an altitude of 4500 meters above the ground in 1913 and then 4800 meters in 1919. Flight magazine called Raymonde de Laroche "The Baroness", and the title stayed with her all her life that a lot of people thought she was of noble origin. Anne Spencer Morrow Lindbergh [caption id="attachment_2697" align="alignnone" width="949"] Anne Spencer Morrow Lindbergh[/caption] Born in 1906, Anne Spencer Morrow Lindbergh was a writer and a pilot. A prime example for women’s rights, Anne worked side by side with her husband, Charles Lindbergh, she was his co-pilot for years. In 1930, Anne became the first woman in the U.S.A to get a glider pilot’s license. She later worked as her husband’s co-pilot, navigator, and radio operator. She helped Charles set a new transcontinental speed record, they flew from Los Angeles to New York City in 14 hours 45 minutes, which was a record at the time. And in 1931 they made a three-month-long journey to survey air routes from Canada and Alaska to East Asia. That trip was the subject of Lindbergh’s first book, North to the Orient, which was published in 1935. Her most famous written work, Gift from the Sea, was published in 1955. It comprises a collection of essays that discuss the struggle we all go through to achieve balance and serenity in life, with a focus on the life of modern women. Bessie Coleman [caption id="attachment_2698" align="alignnone" width="949"] Bessie Coleman[/caption] Born in 1892, Bessie Coleman was the first African American woman, as well as the first woman of Native-American descent to earn a pilot license. Even though flying schools in the United States did not accept black women at the time, she was determined enough to find another way to achieve her goal. Bessie learned French and moved to France. She studied at Caudron Brother's School of Aviation and got her international pilot license in 1921, thus becoming the first person of African-American and Native American descent to earn an international aviation license from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. In order to start a career as a stunt flier, Bessie needed advanced lessons. She spent another two months in France where she took an advanced course in aviation, then left for the Netherlands to meet the renowned aircraft designer Anthony Fokker. After that, she traveled to Germany, where she received additional training at the Fokker Corporation from one of the company's chief pilots. After all this extensive training, Bessie went back to America to start a career in exhibition flying, becoming one of the most famous female pilots in the USA. Bessica Medlar Raiche [caption id="attachment_2699" align="alignnone" width="949"] Bessica Medlar Raiche[/caption] Not only did she make solo flights, but Bessica Medlar Raiche also designed and built an airplane with her husband. A doctor, a linguist, an artist, a musician, and a pilot, Bessica was certainly both gifted and motivated. Bessica, who was born in 1875, graduated from Tufts Medical School in 1903. She practiced medicine as a doctor and a dentist. When she was in France studying painting, she saw Orville Wright demonstrate his Wright Flyer. This affected her tremendously that she decided to build a similar aircraft when she went back home to the USA. With the help of her husband, she built an airplane based on the Wrights’ design but using lighter-weight materials. And because she was lighter than her husband it was decided that she would be the one who tries the plane. The flight took place on 16 September 1910, Bessica flew the plane exactly five times. The last flight, however, did not end with the smoothest landing, but Bessica was unharmed. Later on, Mr. and Mrs. Raiche formed the French-American Aeroplane Company and built several more airplanes. Sheila Scott [caption id="attachment_2700" align="alignnone" width="949"] Sheila Scott[/caption] Born in 1927, British aviator Sheila Scott broke more than 100 flying records between 1965 and 1972. She is definitely one of the most powerful women in the cockpit. She earned her pilot license in 1960 and started racing with her old biplane. To support her passion for flying, she worked as a demonstrator for Cessna and Piper aircraft. In 1966, Scott flew around the world for the first time, covering around 50,000 kilometers in 189 flying hours. She started setting world records after that, starting with her flight between London and Cape Town in 1967, her flight across the North Atlantic Ocean in 1967, and across the South Atlantic Ocean in 1969, and her flight from the Equator to the Equator over the North Pole in 1971. Her 100th world-class record was set during her third around-the-world solo flight. In addition to an impressive flying career, she published two books:  I Must Fly, which was published in 1968, and On Top of the World, published in 1973. Jacqueline Cochran [caption id="attachment_2701" align="alignnone" width="949"] Jacqueline Cochran[/caption] At the time of her death in 1980, Jacqueline Cochran, who was born in 1906, held more distance, altitude and speed world records than any other pilot, male or female. Known as the speed queen, Cochran was the only woman to compete and win in the Bendix race, the first female pilot to break the sound barrier, the first woman to land and take off from an aircraft carrier, and the first female president of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale. Cochran used her fame and money to help empower women, contributing to charitable causes and trying to establish a place for women in the space race. She believed that it was not enough to put more women in the cockpit women should also conquer space. To learn more about famous women in the cockpit see also: Hanadi Al Hindi: the first Saudi Woman to become a pilot The first Arab female pilot: Captain Pilot Lotfia Elnadi Aviation pioneers: Amelia Earhart

Unusual aircraft: Weirdest airplanes in the world

Engineers sometimes design and build an unusual aircraft for some reason or another, to prove a point, to research aerodynamics, or to see if it would fly better than a usual one. These weird airplanes are often seen as a novelty or a quirky invention, then they are documented and usually forgotten. Unlike normal airplanes, the focus on these unusual aircraft is often not practicality. The focus is mostly on testing a new theory to see if it would work, sometimes the theory does not work well and the aircraft does not fly at all, and sometimes it does but the cost is too high to experiment more on the subject. Such planes always end up in some sort of an aviation museum, kept as a novelty for the generations to come. Let’s take a look at some of the strangest airplanes that have ever flown in the skies. Some of these unusual aircraft did not fly for long, but they have all been tested, and all of them could indeed fly. Nemuth Parasol [caption id="attachment_2112" align="alignnone" width="949"] Nemuth Parasol[/caption] In 1934, students at Miami University decided to build this aircraft to demonstrate that a circular wing could indeed fly a plane. One prototype was made and tested, the unusual aircraft did, in fact, fly decently, and the circular wing provided a dreamy parachute-like landing. But the project did not go any further. Too bad as the Nemeth Umbrella Plane looked like a hybrid between a helicopter and a flying saucer. EDGLEY OPTICA [caption id="attachment_2114" align="alignnone" width="949"] EDGLEY OPTICA[/caption] Intended for low-speed observation work, this unusual aircraft was designed as a cheaper alternative to helicopters that allows for better vision with a focus on slow flying capabilities. The British inventor John Edgley designed and built the original prototype in 1974. He then started his company, Edgley Aircraft Limited with a small team, the first one flew in 1979. Thanks to its weird design, the airplane has been nicknamed bug-eye. Nonetheless, this same bizarre design is what gives it 270° panoramic vision and almost vertical downward vision. Plus, the cockpit canopy design allows photography through the panels. The small airplane barely has enough space for two passengers in addition to the pilot. It is considered the quietest powered aircraft in the world.   Antonov An-74 [caption id="attachment_2116" align="alignnone" width="949"] Antonov An-74[/caption] Nicknamed Cheburashka after a famous animated character,  the large engine intake ducts of the aircraft certainly do look like oversized ears. The plane, which has been operating since 1977, offers more than cute looks, it is capable of operating in harsh weather conditions in polar regions. It is one of the few planes that can operate in the Arctic and Antarctic environments. This is due to some helpful gadgets featured in the plane like wheel-skis landing gear and de-icing equipment. If you are looking for an airplane that can land well on ice, you can charter an Antonov An-74 from an air charter service. Sikorsky S-72 [caption id="attachment_2117" align="alignnone" width="949"] Sikorsky S-72[/caption] This experimental hybrid, titled Sikorsky X-Wing after the Star Wars fighter, is a mix of a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft. It was developed by Sikorsky Aircraft. The airplane was designed and built to combine the speed of a jet with the vertical takeoff abilities of a helicopter. However, the program, which was started for pure research purposes, was canceled in 1988. Rutan Boomerang [caption id="attachment_2118" align="alignnone" width="949"] Rutan Boomerang[/caption] Designed and built by Burt Rutan, The Rutan Model 202 Boomerang is a multi-engine aircraft designed to combat engine failure because even if one of the engines failed it would not become dangerously difficult to control the aircraft due to asymmetric thrust. This gives a very distinct appearance to the airplane. Two fuselages, one bigger than the other, with wings facing forward, this is indeed one unusual aircraft. It may look very bizarre, but the asymmetrical design allows the Boomerang to fly faster. And the plane was never intended for commercial use anyway, the 5 place light twin was intended for personal transportation. The Boomerang is simply a very unique private plane. Lockheed Martin P-791 [caption id="attachment_2119" align="alignnone" width="949"] Lockheed Martin P-791[/caption] Is it an airship? Is it an airplane? No, it’s the Lockheed Martin P-791! This aircraft is built for sustainability, it can fly longer routes for less fuel. this Hybrid Airship burns less than one-tenth the fuel of a helicopter per ton, and can easily land anywhere. That is why the producers of the technology hope that it will replace jeeps and trucks in sending cargo and transferring people to remote areas with no airports. This aircraft may look weird, but according to the company, it is faster and cheaper than land and sea transportation systems, especially for remote areas with little to no infrastructure. 377PG: The Pregnant Guppy [caption id="attachment_2120" align="alignnone" width="949"] 377PG: The Pregnant Guppy[/caption] Built from parts of Boeing airplanes as well as some new parts, the Pregnant Guppy is designed and built to carry irregularly shaped cargo for NASA. The designer of this unusual aircraft, John Conroy, had the idea when he heard that it takes 18 days for NASA to transfer space shuttle parts. He built the aircraft from parts of other planes, tried it, and then sold it to NASA. This type of aircraft is called Frankenplane because it is made of parts of other airplanes. Actually many people thought the project was ridiculous and the Guppy would never land safely. But to their surprise, the plane continued to work so well that a successor was designed and built, Super Guppy! Super Guppy features a  25-feet high, 25-feet wide, and 111-feet long cargo bay. This simply means that the aircraft boasts 39,000 cubic feet of usable space. Short SKYVAN [caption id="attachment_2121" align="alignnone" width="949"] Short SKYVAN[/caption] Built for function with total disregard for aesthetics, people have often made fun of this general-purpose aircraft, they have called it names like “Flying Shoebox” and “The Shed”, but the Skyvan has definitely proven value over the years. The plane that took its first flight in 1963, is still used today for transferring cargo and passengers. The 19-seat aircraft features a van-like large rear door for loading and unloading freight. This makes it very efficient for short haul flights, sky diving activities and much more. Dornier Aerodyne [caption id="attachment_2122" align="alignnone" width="949"] Dornier Aerodyne[/caption] This unusual aircraft looks like the rear part of an airplane as if someone has cut an aircraft in half and only left one half. Bizarrely though, it can fly! The weird invention was tested, it was remotely controlled and flew without a pilot. The first flight took place on 18 September 1972. The wingless aircraft was designed by Alexander Lippisch. According to Lippisch, with the right amount of thrust, a modified Aerodyne might be capable of supersonic flight. He never got to test that theory though as the project was stopped. To learn more about unusual aircraft see also: Giant airplanes: the biggest airplanes in the world

Want to be a captain? This is how you become a successful pilot

Becoming a pilot is one thing and becoming a successful captain pilot is another thing entirely. Some people study for a few years, earn their pilot license and never become captains. While other people move up in their careers quite quickly and become successful pilots and captains within six to seven years. Where does the difference come from? It actually depends on several factors, only one of them is having passion for the job, so even if you happen to be passionate about the career you have to take the right steps to achieve all that you can achieve in it. Here is how you become a successful captain pilot. The first step, become a pilot To become a pilot you first have to research flight training options. Start by comparing available programs then choose the best one. To apply for a professional pilot license you need to meet some basic medical requirements to fly. That’s why you should apply for a first class medical certificate through an Aeromedical Examiner (AME). If you don’t know where you can get one do not fret, the aviation school of your choice will provide you with this information. You also need to be at least 17 years old and speak fluent English, as most of the subjects you are going to study are in English. Once you have successfully enrolled, you will need to complete some ground training as well as flight training. Ground training usually covers topics like aerodynamics, radio communication protocols, and navigation using visual flight rules (VFR). The duration of the ground training course differs from one learning institution to another, but it usually takes around a year to complete the course, especially in non-English speaking countries where the students have to study English as well as other subjects. After this ground training, you should be ready to take the knowledge exam and pass with a grade of at least 70%. Some academies now allow programs where students can work on both simultaneously, ground training and flight training. To get your license you need to complete the required 150 flight training hours, this often takes from one to two years. After you have successfully completed your training, you shall be ready to take the practical exam to get your commercial pilot license. This exam includes an oral part and a practical part. Got your license? Congratulations, now you are a pilot. The second step, find a job as a co-pilot In addition to the license, commercial pilots need an Instrument Rating and a Multi-Engine Rating to carry paying passengers. These licenses require additional training that covers rules and procedures specific to instrument flying, and flight training by reference to certain instruments and specific aircraft. The tests comprise a written exam and a practical test, known as the check ride, all check rides are divided into an oral part and an actual flight. However, many pilots complete the required training hours to apply for these exams by working as co-pilots. When you acquire a commercial pilot license you can apply for a job in an airline and sit through an interview. Keep in mind though that most major airlines require a lot of flying hours, that is why many pilots start their careers by applying for jobs at low-cost airlines until they gain enough experience that would allow them to apply in legacy carriers. Interviews for pilot positions often reflect license exams, there are often check-rides in addition to a written test and an interview, especially for new pilots. In addition to that, airlines frequently conduct psychological tests to make sure that their pilots are qualified to make good decisions under pressure. Did you pass the interview? Congratulations, you are officially a pilot! The third step, get promoted When you start your journey as a pilot, you probably get a job as a first officer (co-pilot), so how do you become a captain? The process takes a long time, from 6 to 15 years, depending on the airline and the pilot’s skills and qualifications. Pilots are only considered for promotion to become captains after they have logged at least 1,500 flight hours, and only if they hold a full Air Transport Pilots Licence (ATPL). This is the minimum requirement, other factors, however, are taken into consideration. But before we start with the other factors it is noteworthy to mention that most legacy airlines, in fact, require a minimum of 3000 flight hours for their pilots to be promoted into captains. Nonetheless, the experience does not grant the promotion, Meeting the flight hours requirement is only the start. If a pilot holds the required certificate and has logged in the required flight hours, the airline then looks into their training record and performance before starting a ‘command assessment’ that includes an interview and a simulator check. This simulator check is a practical test in which the pilot is usually given a scenario with various malfunctions. It is designed to assess flight management skills and decision-making process. After passing this assessment, the pilot starts a command course, which is the most demanding step, and where many pilots get stuck as the course is neither short nor easy to pass. Did you pass the course? Congratulations, you are now a captain pilot! The fourth step, become a successful captain pilot Now that you have reached your goal and became a captain pilot, how do you become the best captain pilot you can be? How do you really become a successful pilot and have the bright future you aspire after? There are certain qualifications and skills that successful captains possess, skills that allow them to be accomplished leaders. They appreciate teamwork Yes, the captain is the commander of the aircraft, he is the leader who takes the decisions and shoulders the responsibility. But in order to become a successful leader, you have to value teamwork. You have to know that you need every team member to do their job well so you can do your job well. They take responsibility Successful pilots do not blame others, they know very well that they are in charge, they are in control. To become a captain you have to know that with great power comes great responsibility. You are responsible for the aircraft and everyone on board. If a mistake happens, you have to be willing to work on it and find a way to correct it, not blame whoever did it. They know the right balance A leader who does not listen to others is a dictator, a leader who needs everyone’s approval is a pushover, a successful leader is someone who knows the right balance. To become a successful captain, you have to know how to take charge, and also how to listen to your team, this is called Crew Resource Management or CRM. They are willing to acquire new skills Many people wonder if leadership is by nature or nurture, and the answer is that is is a mixture of both. People are born with potential, and when they work on it and learn and grow and improve they achieve their full potential. In order to become a successful pilot, a person must have potential, but they must also be willing to work hard and learn new skills.

Aviation in the Kingdom: Newest airports in Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a very spacious country. It is the largest country in the GCC and one of the largest countries in the world in terms of area. That is why there are numerous airports in Saudi Arabia. The aviation sector in the Kingdom has been showing impressive growth over the past years. in 2017, Saudi Arabia recorded 8% passenger growth, and the numbers are rapidly increasing. Furthermore, the domestic market is currently served by five airlines, as opposed to only two airlines a couple of years ago. This significant progress in the aviation sector is, of course, accompanied by building new airports and developing the old established airports in the kingdom. Airports in Saudi Arabia are varied, ranging from the largest airport in the world, to small domestic airports, and most of them are modernly built and feature great amenities and facilities. So let’s take a tour around some of the airports in Saudi Arabia and check the latest additions to the aviation industry in the Kingdom. Under construction airports in Saudi Arabia Work has started on two state-of-the-art airports at Al Jouf and Al Qurayat areas within the northern region of the kingdom. When the projects are completed, the two airports will accommodate a combined capacity of 1.5 million passengers per year. Al Jouf airport project will be built on the Unified Airports Model (B) which can accommodate one million passengers per year. Al Qurayat airport, on the other hand, will be developed as per the Unified Airports Model Plan (A), which can accommodate half a million passengers per year. Al-Jawf currently comprises a small domestic airport with an area of 2,900 square meters, with a capacity of 175,000 passengers per annum. After the expansion, it will spread over an area of 13,000 square meters, with a capacity of one million passengers per annum. The expansion project comprises construction of five new gates, a new VIP terminal, a Royal Hall, a new air traffic control tower and other facilities. The Kingdom is also working on a project to develop King Abdullah International Airport Jizan. After development, the airport will have the capacity to handle 2.4 million passengers per annum. It lies in a strategic location between Jizan and Jazan Economic City. King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah The new airport has been soft-launched last summer and has been welcoming some commercial flights since. However, the expansion is expected to be completed in 2025. The soft launch included the opening of 6 passenger gates, but when completed, the airport will operate 46 gates with the option to add more if needed. The original airport was inaugurated in 1981, but it has been recently expanded and developed. The three-stage expansion project started in 2006. It is designed to increase the capacity of the airport from 13 million to 80 million passengers per year. Spreading over an area of 15 square kilometers, King Abdulaziz International Airport is the third largest airport in Saudi Arabia. It is also the busiest airport in the kingdom and the largest by passenger traffic. This airport is mostly renowned for The Hajj Terminal, which is one of the largest terminals in the world. Extending over a vast area of five million square feet, The Hajj Terminal can accommodate 80,000 passengers at the same time. This one of a kind terminal is innovative and eco-friendly, it has received several awards for the imaginative design which combines air-conditioned halls and shaded open areas covered with an elegant tent-like white roof. The expansion project includes brand-new passenger terminal, the largest air traffic control tower in the world, electronic passenger guidance system and storm water drainage network. The existing runways and airfield systems will also be upgraded. King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh Already the second largest airport in the Kingdom, King Khalid International Airport is currently being expanded. Construction of the new expansion is scheduled to be completed in 2019. The project includes refurbishing and expanding the existing Terminals 3 and 4 and increasing their capacity from 15 million to 25 million passengers per year. Terminal 3 serves as a domestic airport and terminal 4 will work as an international airport. The new project includes integrating both with the addition of a central building. The integrated design is set to make connected flights a very smooth operation. The expansion project also includes the construction of a new fifth terminal, in addition to linking the airport with the new metro system in Riyadh. King Khalid International Airport was opened in 1983. And through the years, it has witnessed one expansion in 2016. As it features the second largest allocated area for an airport in the world, King Khalid International Airport was an alternative landing site for NASA's Space Shuttle. The airport also features one of the tallest control towers in the world, as well as two parallel 4,260 meters runways. King Fahd International Airport, Dammam Opened for commercial operations in 1999, King Fahd International Airport is considered to be one of the newest airports in Saudi Arabia. It is also the largest airport in the world in terms of area. Spreading over a massive area of 780 square kilometers, the huge area of the airport facilitated the landing of the largest aircraft in the world; In 2009, an Antonov 225 landed at Dammam Airport. It was transporting oil drilling equipment. King Fahd International Airport is located in the Eastern Province of the kingdom, 20 kilometers away from Dammam. The strategic location of the airport allows it to host the shortest international flight in the Kingdom, which is between Dammam and Bahrain and the longest domestic flight in the kingdom, which is between Dammam and Tabuk. Not all the area is currently utilized. The kingdom has more development plans for this airport. As part of a multi-phased master plan, the capacity of the airport is set to increase to 30 million passengers per year, up from 12.6 million passengers currently. King Fahd International Airport currently features two parallel 4,000 meters long runways, capable of accommodating the largest aircraft such as Airbus A340-600 and Boeing 747-400. Additionally, the expansion plans include paving the third runway. Since the airport was opened, all airlines transferred their operations from Dhahran International Airport to King Fahd International Airport. That is why it currently serves most of the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia, and why it became the third largest traveling hub in Saudi Arabia. The spacious airport is also home to OxfordSaudia, the first certified pilot training center in the GCC.  

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