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Kuwait plans new airport in the north: DGCA chief

KUWAIT: Kuwait is considering building a new world-class mega airport to meet the rapid growth in air traffic, Directorate General of the Civil Aviation chief Sheikh Salman Sabah Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah has revealed. “The State of Kuwait is studying putting up a tender for setting up a new airport with capacity of 25 million passengers a year,” Sheikh Salman said in a speech at the Kuwait Investment Forum 2018 (KIF2018). “Taking into consideration the basic requirements for airport building, security and safety standards and weather, the new airport will be located in northern Kuwait.” He argued that this site would facilitate the establishment of an integrated airport that would provide all transport and logistics services.
Sheikh Salman stated that the government would allocate the land and the private sector would build, operate and manage the project.

“Assigning such a mega project to specialized international companies would be an optimal way for achieving partnership between public and private sectors,” he noted. He forecasted up to $12 billion would be invested in the new airport which would generate over 15,000 job openings and offer great platform for high-qualify training for national cadres by specialized international experts. He underlined that the new project would meet the steady growth in air traffic. “Kuwait will witness a rapid growth in passenger and cargo movement in the coming 20 years, so we study such projects,” he clarified.

He pointed out that the air traffic at Kuwait International Airport has witnessed remarkable growth in recent years. He stated that the Kuwait International Airport has accommodated 13.7 million passengers in 2017, an increase of 17 percent compared to 2016 and the volume of its air cargo hit 241,000 tons in 2017 compared with 195.5 tons in 2016, he disclosed. “To keep pace with this growth, the DGCA has also revamped the existing airport through a number of projects such as the construction of the new passenger terminal (T2) with a capacity of 25 million passengers annually, scheduled to complete by 2022,” he said.

He indicated that the project created about 12,000 jobs opportunities, especially for young Kuwaitis and would generate additional annual revenues for the state estimated at $300 million. Sheikh Salman added that the DGCA had also started the building new Passengers Support Terminal (T4).

“Work in this project is proceeding according to schedule,” he said, noting that it aims to ease congestion at the existing terminal at the Kuwait International Airport. He noted that T4 would accommodate about 4.5 million passengers annually and provide diverse services for travelers, he said.

The project is expected to create 2,000 job openings and additional revenues for the State amounts to $60 million annually, he said. The GDCA is also setting up two new runways and a new control tower at the Kuwait International Airport to enhance its traffic efficiency and safety, he stated. He described the construction of the new cargo city at the Kuwait International Airport (currently in the first stage) as one of the most promising projects of the State development plan. The mega city would be built on an area of three million square meters and is expected to be the largest in the Middle East, he said.

Sheikh Salman affirmed that DGCA vision had three main pillars: Kuwait’s strategic location in the region which gives the Kuwait International Airport a privilege that allows it to a regional hub for the traffic linking the West and East; Kuwait’s trade history; and the State’s vision to become a regional financial and commercial hub to diversify its income resources. He pointed out that the State is interested in revamping air transport sector to achieve His Highness the Amir’s vision of transforming Kuwait into a financial and commercial hub.

This requires a qualitative leap in the infrastructure of the air transport sector and the relevant laws to keep abreast of developments in this industry, he said. He disclosed that Kuwait is finalizing a new civil aviation law to open the way for the establishment of new aviation companies to be future incubators and platforms for the international ones. – KUNA

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