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Tue 12 Jan 2010 04:30 AM

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Kuwait plans $698m redevelopment of airport

Redevelopment will see KIA able to handle annual passenger traffic of 20m annually.

Over the next few years, the passenger capacity of the Kuwait International Airport will increase to accommodate twenty million passengers annually, the chief of the Department of Civil Aviation said on Monday.

Speaking to reporters, Fawaz al Farah said that at present, seven million passengers pass through the airport annually.

During the next two years, Al Farah plans to begin redevelopment work that will see the airport double its passenger capacity size.

The decision to increase passenger capacity comes after Kuwait has seen an increase in traffic throughout 2009.

In the year, KIA saw a 26% increase in the number of passengers passing through its terminals, spiking in September as travellers took advantage of the Eid Al Fitr holidays.

This increase in passenger traffic saw the revenues earned by the airport shoot up to an estimated $62.89 million.

Speaking to KUNA, Abdullahameed Dashti, deputy manager of the civil aviation department’s financial and legal affairs, said that redevelopment contracts worth $224.5 million are already in the books.

The money will go towards streamlining the airport’s infrastructure and improving its facilities.

Dashti added that over the next two years, the airport expects to spend a minimum of $698.5 million in improving the airport, upgrading buildings, fire stations, rescue centres and service roads.

He also said that the purchasing of new radar equipment and communication services would be on the agenda.

As plans for the redevelopment continue, al Farah added that the Kuwaiti airline, Jazeera has expressed an interest in operating flights to Iraq, an indication that the infrastructure to handle larger passenger numbers would soon be needed.

He also noted that an Iraqi airline company has asked the Kuwaiti government if it could operate out of the Gulf Arab state. He said that no start up date had been set, but that the government had accepted the request.

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