Bahrain International Airport (BAH) announced the successful opening of its new Passenger Terminal Building on 28 January. Local flag carrier Gulf Air operated the first commercial flights in and out of the new terminal. The first departure took off for Delhi at 14:35 local time. Shortly after, the first incoming flight arrived from Lahore.
The new terminal, which had been set to open in early 2020 before the Covid pandemic, spans 210,000 sqm and is four times larger than the existing facilities, which date from 1961. It will increase the airport’s capacity to 14 million passengers per year.
The terminal will support eight baggage reclaim belts, 104 check-in counters, two halls for registration of first and business class passengers, 36 passport control offices, as well as 12 e-gates for departures and eight e-gates for arrivals. It also houses 8,520 sqm of registration halls, a 4,780 sqm departures’ hall, a 6,600 sqm arrivals’ hall and over 10,000 sqm of retail, dining and duty-free space, together with a hotel and medical clinic.
The project has been funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), which is financing the USD1.1 billion Airport Modernisation Programme (AMP) through a grant offered as part of the GCC Bahrain Development Programme.
The expansion of BAH was a major pillar of Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030, which was first adopted in 2008 to provide a clear direction for the continued development of the Kingdom’s economy. It proposes to “enhance BAH’s strategic position, stimulate national economic growth and drive investments into the Kingdom”.
Transport Minister and chair of Bahrain Airport Company Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed said: “The new airport is a significant addition to the country’s infrastructure and will support Bahrain’s long-term economic and tourism goals, catalysing growth in all economic sectors. It also supports the continued growth in regional and international air traffic, building on the Kingdom of Bahrain’s legacy as a link between the East and the West and its strategic location as a regional crossroad.”