Expansion of airport takes off
Posted: 16 July 2009 | | No comments yet
Work on a second terminal at Bahrain International Airport is due to start early next year. It will almost double the current capacity of the airport – allowing it to handle 12 million passengers every year, up from seven million at present. Bahrain Airport Company Chief Executive Officer Dr Osama Al Ali said the terminal was expected to be ready by 2013.
Work on a second terminal at Bahrain International Airport is due to start early next year. It will almost double the current capacity of the airport – allowing it to handle 12 million passengers every year, up from seven million at present.
Bahrain Airport Company Chief Executive Officer Dr Osama Al Ali said the terminal was expected to be ready by 2013.
He said it was included in the first phase of the airport’s expansion, which will also see construction of an Airport Centre, boasting a multi-storey car park capable of holding 3,000 vehicles, cinemas and shops.
Further expansions are planned in the future that would allow the airport to handle 28 million passengers by 2038, added Dr Al Ali.
The expansion is also expected to lead to an overall improvement in aviation services and includes a VIP terminal, airport shelters and a maintenance centre for small aircraft.
He said the project was being carried out in close co-ordination with Civil Aviation Affairs as part of Bahrain’s Vision 2030.
Hi-tech scanners on the way
NEW security measures that will scan passengers’ bags for explosives are also being introduced, which will mean that outbound travellers will no longer have to pass through security checkpoints before checking their bags in.
The new system, which is due to be in place this summer, is expected to save passengers time, create much needed space at the airport and enhance security.
Travellers currently have to queue to have their bags scanned before they reach the check-in counters.
“The baggage handling operation at Bahrain International Airport will hence be brought in line with international standards in all areas, using the latest technology and staff training,” Airport Director Mohammed Al Kaabi said.
Currently, there are four X-ray machines for screening luggage outside the check-in area. Those machines will be removed and passengers can go directly to the check-in area, where the baggage screening will be carried out online.
“Passengers will only be called upon to open their baggage if security staff find prohibited items. Such incidents happen very rarely at our airport.”
He added the new system should be in place by June or July.
New e-gates plan
NEW e-gates are being installed at Bahrain International Airport to streamline the movement of Bahraini passengers.
Two e-gates installed at the airport’s arrival area in February last year will be replaced with new ones later this month, said Interior Ministry Assistant Under-Secretary for Nationality, Passports and Residence, Shaikh Ahmed bin Isa Al Khalifa.
“We are also going to install two e-gates at the departure area.”
“Currently, more than 2,000 Bahraini passengers pass through the e-gates at the arrival point using their Smartcards instead of passports.
“This marks a major milestone in our e-government technology.”
The launch of the e-gate service has come as an innovative initiative from the Bahrain government and is aimed at offering most accelerated and best services for travellers at the airport, said Shaikh Ahmed.
“The new service saves much time and effort by accelerating check in time significantly where e-gate service depends on Smartcard identification systems and fingerprint identification to carry out procedures for passengers,” he said.
“The system provides the option to either go through normal gates or the new electronic gates, which save time and effort.
“One of the most important features of the e-gate is that it is provided free of charge, compared to other GCC countries which have imposed some fees for the same type of service.”
Shaikh Ahmed said the launch of the e-gate was a qualitative move and a distinct achievement of Bahrain.
“This implementation of such national projects are aimed at supporting government services, easing the burdens on citizens and promoting the name of Bahrain internationally,” he added.
New software has been designed by e-government officials in Bahrain to expand the number of e-gates.
The work was carried out jointly by the General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence, Central Informatics Organisation (CIO) and the E-Government Agency.
“The service is now available only to Bahraini passengers who carry a smartcard,” said Shaikh Ahmed.
“The GDNPR is studying a plan to make the services available to expatriate residents in Bahrain in the near future.”
8.7 million use Bahrain airport
Bahrain International Airport handled 8.7 million passengers last year, up by 20 percent from 2007.
“We expect another 10 percent growth this year,” said Civil Aviation Affairs (CAA) Assistant Under-Secretary for Aviation Services Ahmed Nemat Ali.
“The airport has been witnessing a steady growth in traffic over the years.”
Mr Ali was speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony at the airport to welcome the inaugural flight of Wataniya Airways, from Kuwait. Bahrain became the fourth destination of the airline, which will operate two flights a day to the kingdom.
“With this, the number of flights between Bahrain and Kuwait has reached nearly 100 a week,” said Mr Ali.
“Thirty-eight international airlines now operate scheduled services through Bahrain to more than 50 international destinations.” He said CAA was negotiating with two more international airlines, which have shown interest to operate to Bahrain.