Kuwait hopes that, as it moves ahead with plans to boost private sector involvement in the economy and tourism, visitor numbers will increase in the coming years, and it is working on plans to build a huge new modern passenger terminal. The first phase is due for completion in 2016 and will transit 13 million passengers a year. A second phase will increase capacity to 25 million by 2020.
The local Alghanim International has been working on the infrastructure for the $3.3bn terminal since 2009, and the main construction contracts are expected to be tendered this year. The scheme, which was designed by the UK’s Foster & Partners, is likely to be broken into a series of packages, the announcement of which are eagerly awaited by local contractors.
Kuwait’s Central Tenders Committee invited firms to prequalify for the contract to build the estimated $747m passenger terminal building at the end of April.
Work on the second phase of the project is expected to begin shortly after construction on the first gets under way. A third phase has also been discussed, which would see the facility expanded to a capacity of 50 million passengers a year.
In February, the joint venture of local First Kuwaiti Trading Company and Saudi Arabia’s Almabani General Contractors was selected for the $312m contract to build a third runway at the airport. The package also includes the reconstruction and extension of the existing eastern runway to make it 4 kilometres long.
State carrier Kuwait Airways has been a loss-maker in recent years, but the completion of the new terminal could allow Kuwait to attempt to turn the airline into a hub passenger and cargo carrier like Dubai’s Emirates. However, such plans are a long way off and would require the turnaround of Kuwait Airways, or its successful privatisation.
Tenders for Kuwait International Airport are listed in the Kuwait Gazette by the DGCA.