Bahrain is planning to build a new $10bn-plus airport on a reclaimed island to the north of the existing Bahrain International airport.

“We have limitations with our airport. We have only one runway and that will only give you a number of movements. We know that if we are lucky and have the growth that we want we need a new airport in 15 years,” Minister of Transport and Telecommunications Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed told MEED. “If you want to build a new airport, it takes ten years so we need to start now to plan for the other one.”

The new airport will be built on reclaimed land to the north of Muharraq Island where Bahrain International airport is located. “We have decided on location, we have done hydrological studies we have done aerospace studies. A lot of consultants were involved, there were some options, but the best option is this one,” said Mohammed.

The new island will require dredging and infrastructure, including a bridge or causeway that will connect it to the rest of Bahrain. The minister says that early estimated for a budget will be at least 10 times the cost of the $1.1bn new terminal that is currently being built at the existing Bahrain International airport.

Unlike the under construction terminal building at the existing airport that is being developed directly by the government with GCC funding support, the proposed new airport is likely to the developed in partnership with the private sector. “For sure if we do it, it will be a different way of developing. It is greenfield, this [new terminal building at existing airport] is brownfield. With greenfield there are more ways of financing like BOT [build, operate, transfer], we think if we do a good job here [existing airport] and increase the growth that will be viable to be built in another way,” says Mohammed.