Saudi Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal (L) looks at model of Jeddah Tower ahead of a press conference on May 11, 2017, in the Red Sea city of Jeddah. Image Credit: AFP

Jeddah: The completion date for the world’s tallest tower has been pushed back to 2019, a Saudi Arabian billionaire said Thursday, almost six years after launching the record-breaking project.

Jeddah Tower is to rise more than a kilometre, placing it above Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.

“The project was delayed... but it’ll open (in) 2019,” Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal told AFP during a visit to the site beside the Red Sea.

Al Waleed chairs Kingdom Holding Co whose affiliated Jeddah Economic Company is developing the spire-topped landmark.

The project contractor Saudi Bin Ladin Group was among construction firms in the kingdom that suffered financially after a collapse in oil revenues from 2014.

Bin Ladin Group late last year said it had completed payment to 70,000 laid-off employees.

Al Waleed first announced plans for the tower in August 2011, saying it would take 36 months to build after the start of construction.

By November 2014, a four-storey foundation was in place and Al Waleed said the building would be finished in 2018.

But that was before the kingdom felt the full force of a drop in oil revenues.

In November 2015, Kingdom Holding said Jeddah Economic Company had reached a financing deal with Saudi Arabia’s Alinma Investment to finish the Jeddah Tower, which then had 26 floors.

Al Waleed on Thursday rode a construction elevator about 30 floors to meet reporters in the concrete shell of the building, which already offers spectacular views over the rest of Jeddah and the adjacent sea.

Kingdom Holding has shares in the Euro Disney theme park, Apple, News Corporation and US banking giant Citigroup, among other firms.