Kuwait disappoints pessimists

11 August 2016

All eyes will be on the country as it endeavours to complete its airport facility in 450 days

The imminent award of the temporary passenger building at Kuwait International airport to the selected bidder is likely to disappoint pessimists in the construction sector. Kuwait, after all, has nearly become synonymous with delayed project awards in recent years.

While the project signing has taken close to eight months – the low bidder for the contract was announced in December 2015 – it is still well within the norm in Kuwait. For example, it took nine months for the $4.3bn Terminal 2 to be finally awarded from the time the low bidder was announced.

However, signing the contract is one thing, the aggressive execution timeline of the scheme is another.

MEED has been assured by some consultants that delivering a temporary passenger terminal comprising mainly of steel structure within 450 days is doable. Or at least similar projects, usually with a smaller capacity, have been delivered in Europe and other parts of North Africa.

It is probably the first time that a scheme with such a high degree of urgency and scale – it has a design capacity of 4.5 million passengers – will be attempted in the GCC aviation sector.

Challenges the project may encounter include resource allocation and logistics as it will be constructed simultaneously with Terminal 2.

Nevertheless, if everything goes to plan, the temporary passenger building will be completed and the decongestion of the existing terminal, which has been operating well beyond its capacity for years, will begin before the end of 2017.

Even if the project delivery will be slightly delayed, given its novelty and the potential logistical constraints, its award – for optimists at least – goes a long way in reassuring the market, principally contractors, that Kuwait is now on the mend in terms of awarding projects.

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