Kuwait intends to invest $6 billion (Dh34.84 billion) to expand its international airport to enable it to handle 13 million passengers by 2016, according to the head of the civil aviation authority.
Kuwait International Airport unveiled its $2.1 billion (Dh12.19 billion) expansion plans last October. The latest announcement indicates a nearly $4 billion increase in investment.
"The project's cost amounts to $6 billion. The work is due to begin this year and the project is expected to finish by 2016," Fawaz Al Farah told reporters yesterday on the sideline of the Airport Show.
He added that the expansion includes a new $3 billion terminal equipped with the latest technology, and an additional $3 billion to widen the runways, enhance the control tower and build a new control tower, and to set up a new cargo facility.Current capacity
The present terminal can handle about seven million passengers annually.
"And the capacity could be further increased to 25 million passengers per year by 2025," Al Farah said.
Kuwait airport handled 8.5 million passengers in 2011 and the civil aviation authority expects the number to exceed nine million this year, Al Farah said.
The airport is the hub of national carrier Kuwait Airways and the privately-owned low-cost carrier Jazeera Airways.
But while Jazeera Airways has been performing well, Kuwait Airways has accumulated losses of more than $2.7 billion, and recently got a nod for privatisation.
Kuwait's cabinet reportedly approved an amended draft law on April 22, paving the way for the privatisation of Kuwait Airways within three years, after restructuring of the carrier delayed the original plan.
As a part of the plan, the government will retain a 20 per cent stake in the company with 5 per cent to be distributed to the airline's employees "equally and for free", according to an earlier report.
Kuwait's parliament first approved a plan to privatise Kuwait Airways Corp. in 2008, but the process has been repeatedly delayed.