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$6bn expansion planned for Kuwait International Airport

The Kuwait Government has announced plans to invest $6bn towards expansion of its international airport aimed to handle at least 13million passengers by 2016, a top official of civil aviation authority said on Tuesday.

The expansion plans will double the existing passenger capacity of the airport within next four years. Construction will begin this year, with an additional terminal being added, and renovating the current infrastructure to improve capacity, said Fawaz Abdul Aziz Al Farah, President, Kuwait Civil Aviation President.

The airport was built to handle nearly seven million passengers annually, but reportedly, handled nearly 8.5mn passengers last year. This year, the figure is expected to grow even higher.

The airport expansion plan, forms a part of Kuwait’s $111bn four-year development plan, which was revealed in February 2010, to build a subway and rail network, expand the airport and construct hospitals, roads, power stations, and a port.

Al Farah further said that the capacity of the present airport may be expanded to 25mn by 2025 and 50mn by 2035. This is based on the announcement by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on 3rd October 2011, wherein the Foster plus Partners-designed terminal will be constructed in 2012, and will increase annual passenger handling capacity to 13mn passengers during first phase with the capacity being expanded to 25mn passengers.

Nearly $3bn will be invested on the development plan, to expand passenger terminal, with another $3bn to be spent on other projects, such as widening runways, new control tower and new cargo town.

The airport, which serves as a hub for Jazeera Airways and Kuwait Airways, underwent a massive renovation and expansion during 1999 to 2001.

Even other Gulf countries such as UAE and Qatar are building airports and expanding existing ones, to accommodate increase in passenger numbers.

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