Nearly half of passengers travelling through Bahrain’s airport last year were from the GCC followed by India, according to latest statistics.

A total of 9,082,707 people, including transit passengers, travelled through Bahrain International Airport last year, with the top three nationalities registered were from Bahrain, India and Saudi Arabia.

The top 10 passenger nationalities passing through the airport last year

This was an increase of seven per cent compared with the total number of passengers who used the airport in 2017.


This was revealed in the latest report by the Civil Aviation Affairs, which operates under the Transportation and Telecommunications Ministry, and covered data on aircraft movement, cargo handled by airport staff, number of transit passengers, and departures to top destinations.

“The year 2018 has been a year of growth for Bahrain International Airport, in response to the growing demands of tourism and various business sectors,” said the report.

“The total number of passengers in 2018 reached 9.1 million, an increase of seven per cent compared to the previous year 2017.”

Total passenger movements reached about 9.1m last year

A further breakdown of the data showed that travellers, including arrivals and departures, passing through immigration was 5,147,046 last year, compared with 5,151,646 in 2017.

“The majority of the movements was by Bahraini citizens at 26pc, followed by Indian citizens at 19pc and Saudi Arabian citizens at 13pc,” added the report.

A total of 1,002,722 Indians passed through immigration last year compared with 956,809 in 2017, while Saudi travellers registered last year reached 649,774 compared with 546,895 the year before.

Passenger growth (arrival and departure) was recorded from Russia at 29pc with 41,690 travellers last year, followed by Ethiopia at 21pc with 23,285 travellers, and Thailand at 17pc with 41,902 individuals.

The report also showed a 4pc growth among travellers from Syria, with 41,499 passing through immigration last year.

Dubai retained its spot as the top travel destination from Bahrain with a growth of 4pc or 1.5m travellers last year, followed by Kuwait that witnessed a 12pc growth and Riyadh experienced a 2pc increase.

“Cargo and mail handled at Bahrain International Airport in 2018 maintained the same performance as 2017 at a rate of 288,235 tonnes,” said the report.

“DHL continued to carry the highest volume of cargo in 2018 with 56pc market share, while Gulf Air share registered at 15pc.”

It also showed total military import and exports in Bahrain last year reached 10,064 tonnes, compared with 14,870 tonnes in 2017.

This included cargo from the US Navy, which reached 9,525 tonnes, and the Royal Air Force, which was registered at 533 tonnes.

The report also revealed that Gulf Air covered 65pc of Bahrain’s passenger market share last year, while other key airlines sharing 24pc of the market were Emirates, Fly Dubai, Air Arabia, Etihad Airways, Oman Air, Turkish Airlines, Air India, British Airways and Kuwait Airways.

A breakdown of airlines’ performance, with Gulf Air capturing 65pc of the market share

Bahrain International Airport, located in Muharraq, is currently undergoing a modernisation programme with a new terminal scheduled to be opened in October.

The $1.1 billion expansion, featuring a 207,000sqm terminal building, will include a 4,600sqm departure hall, 104 check-in counters, 36 passport control booths and 24 security screening points.

It is four times the size of the existing terminal and will be able to accommodate 14 million passengers a year.

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