Kuwait International Airport is facing congestion and overcrowding of passengers these days, after it issued a decision to inspect all luggage after passengers get their boarding passes. Kuwait International Airport is very small compared to the number of travelers and the services provided to the public, so this decision shows the extent of chaos and disorganization at this airport for years.
This overcrowding has occurred because of the increased numbers of departures, which has caused severe confusion inside the airport. This starts at the entrance to the airport, as well as in parking lots that are usually crowded all day and throughout the year.
Most countries of the world are keen on expanding civilian airports and developing them to meet the challenges of the growing number of passengers and aviation activities. Here in Kuwait, the airport development project has been moving very slowly for years, without any interest or attention to the large numbers of passengers that indicate a clear growth in departures and arrivals through Kuwait International Airport.
The growth rate has doubled from the level of the airport’s capacity, and delays in the second airport project because of the complexities and requirements of the government have forced major global companies to withdraw from the project.
Clearly, the airport lacks organization. It is worse that there are some restaurants in the arrivals hall that add to the pressure. Unfortunately, there is a habit among many citizens and expatriates that it is necessary for the entire family or most of its members to receive arriving passengers. Despite the usual assurances by the Civil Aviation, the reality is that the problem still exists, and it shows clearly in the summer, when the number of passengers multiplies.
The international airport has become a serious social and security problem, especially since the airport is a border outlet and problems encountered both in terms of administration or technical and security services should not be underestimated. It is natural that congestion will lead to poor organization, and the absence of special counters for citizens sometimes – as the case is at all airports in the world – is another failure.
Many people think that Kuwait airport is bad and inconvenient. I think it’s the worst airport that I have ever visited in my life, even worse than those in very poor countries. The poor organization and security gaps at the airport are unacceptable. You would not know the departing passengers from the arriving ones as they walk side by side, as well as the lack of attention to hygiene and the overcrowded smoking areas.
There is also a lack of appropriate instructions about the facilities at the airport. I’m not a security officer, but these matters are a concern for all passengers. I do not know why arrival and departure passengers have to be mixed together, as I have not seen anything like this anywhere in the world – not even at domestic airports!
The solution is simple and everyone knows it, but no one is trying to implement it, which is handing over airport security procedures to a private company in order to manage the airport and eliminate these negative phenomena that are a threat to people’s lives and safety of planes.
Kuwait International Airport is no longer capable to accommodate the growing numbers of travelers. Official figures indicate a high growth rate of passengers, double the capacity of the airport. The capacity of Kuwait International Airport is currently about 7 million passengers a year, while the airport in 2013 received about 9.3 million passengers, with an annual growth rate of about 6 percent, which is threatening to worsen the problem of congestion at the airport.
The second airport project (if it is ever implemented) should accommodate up to 13 million passengers a year in the first phase, 25 million passengers in the second stage and 50 million in the following stages, with a construction area of about 140,000 sq m. According to reports, the expansion project will take approximately 15 months to be ready to receive passengers, so we have to wait until it’s completed. Until then, try to avoid traveling in peak seasons.
By Muna Al-Fuzai