Big plans for Bahrain International Airport

Airport of the furture

An expansion that will see a three-fold increase in passenger capacity is on the cards for Bahrain International Airport.

Bahrain Airport Company (BAC), which took over management and operation of the facility at the beginning of 2008, used the inaugural Bahrain International Airshow to announcement signing of a project management consultancy agreement with global firm Hill International to get the expansion underway.

Hill will supervise the overall development of the expansion, which is budgeted at BD1.8 billion ($4.7 billion) and will take place in six phases with completion scheduled for 2038.

The first phase is due to be operational in 2011 with a new terminal providing added capacity of five million extra passengers, a new VIP terminal and an airport centre including shops, cinemas and a much-needed additional carpark.

Once this is up and running the existing terminal will be demolished to make-way for additional development.

As well as the general aviation terminal the expansion plan includes a new cargo terminal, which will be capable of handling 1.5 million tonnes of cargo, compared to the current 350,000 tonnes, a second runway and a people-mover system as well as improvements to the roads network and infrastructure, hotels and leisure, recreational and  conference facilities.

Looking back on the airport’s proud history as the region’s aviation pioneer, A BAC spokesman said: “We are distinguished by retaining the reputation of an airport built around people providing convenience and efficiency. Even when the most modern facilities accelerate efficiency, the airport will continue to remain a friendly and welcoming destination, our primary focus is travellers’ convenience. BAC will strategically focus on improving operational efficiency and diversification of aeronautical and non-aeronautical activities.”

The airport currently handles 42 airlines, including charter and cargo flights, and is connected to 52 international destinations and management expects this to increase during the expansion which will see the number of stands rise from the existing 25 to 110 including 87 with contact gates.

The spokesman added: “Bahrain International Airport will continuously strive to sustain its position as an intercontinental hub by excellence and providing world-class infrastructure supported by a wide spectrum of value-added services.”