Bahrainis lead the way at new airport

$1.1bln terminal is four times larger than the current facility

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. Travelers waiting at the boarding gates of Manama Airport.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Travelers waiting at the boarding gates of Manama Airport.

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Bahrainis will be at the forefront of operating the new terminal building that officially opens tomorrow revolutionising the travel experience for millions of travellers.

The $1.1 billion terminal is four times larger than the current facility and the new look Bahrain International Airport (BIA) will enhance connectivity as it has the capacity to handle 14m passengers a year.

The BIA released a report yesterday – ahead of a media tour today – in which it showcased some of the inspirational Bahrainis taking charge of operational sections.

Transportation and Telecommunications Minister and Bahrain Airport Company (BAC) chairman Kamal Ahmed spoke of his pride in their achievements.

“Today we are benefiting from the investment we made, all of the Bahraini men and women that we have invested in are capable of doing their jobs well and I believe that the opening will be successful,” said Mr Ahmed.

“In each of visits that were made by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince Prime Minister, he would always ask me to point out the Bahrainis who are operating and maintaining the airport,” he said.

One of the people highlighted in the video was the Fire Command Centre incident controller Hamad Yaqoob whose duty is it to co-ordinate with the fire watchers in case of emergencies.

He spoke about what it meant to him to be of the team. “I’m proud as a Bahraini to be working in a department staffed entirely by Bahrainis,” said Mr Yaqoob.

“We are manning all these new instruments so efficiently and we are all highly-trained and highly-qualified for the new airport operation.”

Network Operations Centre communications engineer Khalifa Abdulla said he was excited to be part of the biggest project in Bahrain. “We’re responsible for running all the systems and networks throughout the airport and monitoring devices 24 hours-a-day,” added Mr Abdulla.

The GDN previously reported that the BAC was committed to building the skills of Bahrainis and helping them reach their full potential with 86 per cent of the company’s employees drawn from the local labour market.

Gulf Air announced earlier it will move its entire operations for inbound and outbound flights to the new terminal effective from tomorrow.

Former Gulf Air pilot, Captain Ameen Budagher, who worked at the national carrier for 37 years, said the new terminal was in line with the kingdom’s Economic Vision 2030.

“Bahrain has a unique connection with the history of aviation in the Arabian Gulf, as the first airport of the region,” Captain Budagher told the GDN. “In the coming few years, with the discovery of new oil in the region and the promotion of our tourism industry, I see the new terminal as the ideal expansion to drive that growth.”

The new passenger terminal cements Bahrain’s position as a major travel hub in the region.

The new terminal is capable of processing 130,000 air traffic movements per annum with a handling capacity of 4,700 bags per hour, includes a central utility complex, 5,500 parking spaces, a greatly expanded duty-free shopping area.

It has a range of lounges too – The Pearl Lounge on Departures and on Arrivals, Gulf Air Lounge: Falcon Gold Lounge and an Unaccompanied Minors Lounge.

In addition, The Bahrain Airport Hotel and Spa will open soon offering transit passengers a chance to relax in style.

ghazi@gdn.com.bh

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