Bahrain airport plans $318m expansion

Big plans at the Bahrain International Airport

THE terminal building at Bahrain International Airport will almost double in size under a BD120 million ($318.3 million) expansion plan by the Civil Aviation Affairs (CAA), according to a report.

The expansion plan, unveiled by the CAA in a report in its magazine, has been approved by the government and is expected to be implemented in three phases. It will see a redevelopment of the eastern end of the airport to accommodate eight new air bridges, two of which will cater for the new Airbus A380. This new facility will add approximately 40,000 sq m to the terminal.
The number of check-in counters will be doubled together with an expansion of the immigration and baggage handling area.
Improvements planned incorporate a special lounge for travellers to and from Saudi Arabia. A new departure lounge will house a post office, prayer rooms, restaurants, business centre, a large duty free shopping area, meet-and-greet service and currency exchange facilities.
An expansion of the airport’s cargo handling capacity is being planned to meet the increasing regional demand. The new terminal will boost current capacity by nearly 400 per cent, with parking for up to 10 wide-body cargo carriers.
Travellers will also benefit from a new 400-plus multi-storey car park, to be built between the passenger terminal and the Gulf Air headquarters, the report said. Adjacent to the car park, new facilities including a new executive business centre, shopping arcade, restaurants, food court, cinemas and an entertainment and play area for the local Muharraq community are pencilled in for development.
Under the direction of the CAA, the upgrading of the airport will be complimented by marketing campaigns to attract new business.
Last year, the airport handled a record 5.6 million passengers, from more than 70,000 flights. Projections suggest a growth of seven per cent in passenger traffic during the period until 2015, with a 15pc growth in cargo traffic.
Gulf Air provides about 40 per cent of activity at the airport, operating 242 weekly services, and 37 other international airlines operate 279 services per week to 70 destinations.
A CAA spokesman said no dates have been finalised for the launch of the programme. Several designs are currently being studied.