Gulf countries have a reputation for having excellent, far-reaching airlines. Emirates Airlines, owned by the Dubai government, is the most commonly-used airline by international travelers.
The location of the Gulf States facilitates their dominance in air transportation. Billions of people live within a day flight of this part of the world. Whether travelers are flying through these states as a stopover, or traveling there for work or pleasure, the airports are being used regularly.
Large transportation hubs like Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, and Doha are in the process of expanding their airports to meet the needs of the many travelers that will use these spaces in the coming years. These large-budget infrastructure projects are happening all over the Middle East. Here are five:
Muscat International Airport
The Sultanate of Oman is in the process of expanding its international airport in Muscat. This project is being headed up by Bechtel, a global project management company, and the first phase is expected to be completed this year.
The expansion is broken into four phases. The first will prepare the airport to accommodate 12 million passengers annually. Three additional phases will prepare the airport for an increased capacity of up to 48 million people yearly.
Construction will include the traditional features of a terminal building, such as check-in counters and boarding bridges. Additionally, construction will include a hotel, rapid luggage processing system, and parking for up to 8,000 cars. This $1.8 billion project will also provide the airport with other buildings, such as data centers and a new Air Traffic Control Tower.
Abu Dhabi Airport Midfield Terminal Building
The UAE is developing a new terminal building at the International Airport in Abu Dhabi. The project is part of a government plan to expand the country’s tourism industry.
The project, which began in late 2012, is expected to be complete by the end of 2017. The Midfield Terminal Building will be the biggest terminal in Abu Dhabi, with 65 gates and the capacity to accommodate 30 million passengers yearly.
The inside of the airport will stretch across 700,000 square meters, 325,000 of which will be stone flooring. The terminal will include parking for more than 4,500 vehicles.
Project leaders have made an effort to use recycled and local materials and divert landfill waste to reduce the impact of this new construction on the environment. The Midfield Terminal Building project was given a “3 Pearl Design Rating” from the Estidama Pearl Building Rating System (EPBRS).
Bahrain International Airport
The Bahrain International Airport is undergoing an expansion funded by a development grant given to Bahrain by the UAE. More than $900 million has been budgeted for the airport expansion project.
The first phase included improvements to the airport’s existing facilities. These improvements were completed in 2015.
Bahrain’s existing airport can handle up to 9 million travelers annually. With the expansion, this number should increase to 14 million. The new terminal and departure hall will provide over 200,000 square meters of new facilities, including about 10,000 square meters of duty-free shopping space.
The project, which began in 2015, will be finished in 2020.
Hamad International Airport
Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Doha, Qatar, is undergoing a renovation that will add two additional concourses to the existing airport. It will also expand the primary terminal and connect the airport with the city’s metro.
The additional concourses will occupy 400,000 square meters and will feature a variety of aesthetic elements. These elements will include wood ceilings, composite floors, and increased natural light.
The primary terminal at HIA will gain more than 60 new counters for check-in as well as several new luggage claim areas. This expansion, which is expected to nearly double the airport’s passenger capacity, was initiated to prepare for Qatar’s intention to host the 2022 FIFA World Soccer Cup.
The newly-expanded airport is open for use. However, some parts of the project are still under construction. As of late 2015, the project had far expanded beyond its original $8 billion budget.
Kuwait International Airport
Kuwait International Airport is in the process of constructing a new, five-level terminal that will occupy more than 700,000 square meters. The terminal’s 51 new gates will provide services for up to 50 million travelers every year.
The new luggage system will be capable of processing almost 4,000 bags each hour. Additionally, the development of this terminal will also necessitate a new road. The new terminal was designed with sustainable features like solar panels in the hopes that it could achieve LEED gold certification.
Construction will be completed by a Turkish company called Limak Construction, which will be paid over $4 billion for the project. The project is expected to be completed in 2022.
Airports are massive hubs of international transportation, and these heavy-use facilities see millions of people every year. These infrastructure projects will improve the lives of travelers by simplifying air travel and making airports in the region more comfortable spaces.