The new hub, to be run by the Transportation and Telecommunications Ministry, will represent a quantum leap forward for civil aviation and keep pace with steadily-growing transit air movement in Bahrain’s airspace.
During a visit to inspect the stages of work on the project, Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry Under-Secretary Ahmed Abdulaziz Al Khayat stressed the importance of the centre’s role in supporting air navigation operations.
“[The project] is considered a qualitative shift in the field of air traffic in the airspace of the kingdom in order to serve the ever-growing aviation sector and in response to the increase in air traffic crossing the airspace of the kingdom,” said Mr Al Khayat.
“In addition to helping to prepare the Bahraini cadres in the various fields of air traffic management, it is one of Bahrain’s strategic projects through which it seeks to enhance its pioneering role and position in the field of air navigation regionally and internationally.”
He was accompanied on the inspection visit by Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry assistant under-secretary Shaikh Misha’al bin Mohammed Al Khalifa along with engineers working on the project.
Shaikh Misha’al said in a statement that the project was expected to be completed within the second quarter of 2020.
“The completion rate in the project is 68pc, the building’s structure has been completed and work is underway on the final finishing works and the installation of doors,” he said.
“As well as supplying most of the electromechanical devices in addition to working on completing their extensions in preparation for the start of operational tests and handing over the project in the second quarter of the year 2020.”
The GDN reported last year that the Tender Board awarded the BD2.462 million project to Al Jameel Construction and that the existing centre was providing assistance to 600,000 flights passing Bahrain’s airspace a year.
Bahrain International Airport currently handles around nine million passengers a year, but once the new terminal is fully operational it is expected to handle up to 14m travellers annually.
The new $1.1 billion expansion, the Airport Modernisation Project, will boost passenger capacity to 14m and 130,000 air traffic movements per year.
It is also expected to act as a catalyst for growth, helping Bahrain Airport Company (BAC) attract a number of new airlines and cargo companies to Bahrain.
The new 207,000sqm terminal building will include a 4,600sqm departure hall, 104 check-in counters, 36 passport control booths and 24 security screening points.
New technologies include hi-tech scanners, biometric e-gates and an automated baggage handling system, while other features include two main hospitality lounges, one run by national carrier Gulf Air and the other by BAC.
In addition, the new duty-free area is four times larger than the existing terminal and retail areas will be three times bigger.
Currently all roads leading to the airport are being revamped in different phases, while Bahrain Specialist Hospital has signed a contract to operate the airport clinic for the next 10 years.
Gulf Air Group Holding and the Gulf Hotels Group have joined forces to set up a new company, the Bahrain Airport Hotel Company, to manage a hotel at the new terminal building.
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