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Bahrain's New Airport

Bahrain is set for a new airport as current New Bahrain Airport deemed “only temporary” and described as “a transitional airport”

Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Sameer Nass has reported plans to construct “a whole new airport and new runways” in Bahrain, “which will be about 10 years down the road”. His comments come as he describes the current New Bahrain Airport project as “only temporary, it’s a transitional airport”.

By ‘New Bahrain Airport’ he is actually only referring to the new terminal at the existing Bahrain International gateway which has been under construction since 2016 and which is part of a USD1.1 billion package that also includes a hotel, a private jet terminal and leisure facilities.

That terminal was supposed to be open at first in 2Q2019, then 3Q2019 and the anticipated opening date now lies on or before Mar-2020. Operational readiness trials (ORAT) have already taken place but the delay was brought about when MPs insisted it was not ready.

So what is the rationale for an entirely new airport in the future? The existing one, home to the now largely overlooked (outside the Middle East) Gulf Air, which has two-thirds of the capacity, has exceeded its overall capacity with in excess of nine million passengers in 2018 (+7.1%) and +14.7% growth in 1H2019.

Bahrain International airport has seen annual traffic levels rise modestly over the 2010s, albeit with significant annual variations (CAPA – Centre for Aviation and Bahrain’s Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications)

With the new terminal alone, four times the size of the existing one, it would be able to handle 14 million ppa, but the long-term projection is for traffic to rise to 27 million ppa by 2040. If an airport is old (and Bahr