Almost three million passengers passed through Bahrain International Airport (BIA) during the first half of the year, a top official has revealed.

Passenger traffic increased gradually at the state-of-the-art airport despite facing a setback due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, said Bahrain Airport Company (BAC) chief executive Mohamed Al Binfalah.

During a meeting of the airport facilitation committee – the first in-person gathering since 2020 – officials reviewed operational facilitation of passengers, crew, baggage and other services in line with the rules set by the Bahrain Civil Aviation Affairs.

“We can all be proud of how well our airport has performed this year,” said Mr Al Binfalah yesterday.

“After losing more than 75 per cent of our usual traffic in 2020 due to the pandemic, we witnessed a recovery in 2021, and now have recorded almost 3m passengers during the first six months of the current year.

“We expect to serve approximately 6.5m passengers by the end of the year and hope to be back to serving more than 9m by the end of 2023.”

The committee reviewed a range of topics, including the recent milestone of achieving Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Customer Experience Accreditation Level 2, which underscores the efforts of BAC to deliver an exceptional customer experience.

“Our partners play a vital role in building on BIA’s reputation as a friendly and efficient airport, offering the world a gateway to the kingdom that makes our country proud,” added Mr Al Binfalah.

“However, we must work harder to further exceed expectations.

“This requires a concerted effort from all of us now that we are seeing a return to normalcy and physical meetings, and I am confident we can achieve these goals with teamwork and continued determination.”

The committee also discussed updates to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Council’s international Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs), which address national civil aviation responses to public health emergencies and the security and inspection of travel and related health documents.

The meeting also included presentations on aviation security and the domestic check-in process.

The GDN previously reported that there has been a staggering 984pc increase in the number of tourists arriving in Bahrain in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period last year.

According to the Information and eGovernment Authority, the kingdom received nearly 1.7m visitors in Q1 2022, against 152,000 in Q1 2021.

The number of tourists arriving through BIA also rose by 147pc, from 67,000 (Q1 2021) to 166,000 (Q1 2022).

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