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Lessons learned from an airport CEO

International Airport Review Editor, Holly Miles, sat down with Bahrain International Airport CEO, Mohamed Albinfalah, to examine how things are going for the airport, his lessons learned from the pandemic and the exciting developments that are in store for the future.

Bahrain Airport

Credit: Bahrain International Airport

The new terminal at Bahrain International Airport (BAH) was in the final phase of construction when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Despite this turn of events, the airport was able to go live with its new terminal on 28 January 2021 with the airport being named ‘World’s Best New Airport’ by Skytrax 2022 World Airport Awards. Bahrain Airport is not unique in finding a spanner in the works due to the onset of COVID-19, but it has given them a lot to think about.

When asked about his lessons learned from the pandemic, Albinfalah said that there were two things, firstly taking a risk-based management system to deal with a crisis like this, and secondly, harmonisation throughout the industry: “Precautionary measures that came about during the pandemic did not work well with terminal capacities, for example social distancing. No airport was able to add additional capacity to accommodate these new rules. Not to mention the irony of trying to socially distance in the airport and then boarding a flight where the seats are right next to each other, which created unease.

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