A model plane stands in an airline ticketing office in Riyadh, July 17, 2012. REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed
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Saudi Arabia Thursday officially opens a billion-dollar aviation gateway aimed at Muslim pilgrims, in the kingdom's first airport privatization.About two million pilgrims annually visit the western cities of Mecca and Medina for the hajj, which this year takes place in September.Medina airport's annual passenger capacity will rise from last year's 5.7 million to eight million, before doubling to 16 million by the end of the 25-year agreement for operating the facility, TAV said.National carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines announced at the Paris Air Show an order for 50 Airbus passenger planes worth about $8 billion.
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