MIAMI – Bahrain International Airport (BAH) announced the successful grand opening of its brand new Passenger Terminal Building on January 28. The new terminal spans 210,000 sqm, four times larger than the rest of the airport’s facilities. It will increase the airport’s capacity to 14 million passengers a year.

“The launch of the new terminal will be a major contributor to trade, supporting the growth [of] tourism and travel for decades to come,” Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, the Minister of Transportation & Telecommunications and Chairman of the Bahrain Airport Company, told Airports Council International.

The New Terminal in Detail

The new terminal will support 8 baggage reclaim belts, 104 check-in counters, 2 halls for registration of first and business class passengers, 36 passport control offices, 12 e-gates for Departures and 8 e-gates for Arrivals.

In addition, the terminal will house 8,520 sqm of Registration Halls, a 4,780 sqm Departures Hall, a 6,600 sqm Arrivals Hall, 10,002 sqm of retail space, 3,300 sqm of Duty-Free space for Departures, and 541 sqm for Arrivals.

A hotel and a medical clinic will also take up residence in the new terminal.

Economic Vision 2030

The expansion of BAH is a major piece of Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030, first adopted in 2008. Bahrain defines Vision 2030 as “a comprehensive economic vision for Bahrain, providing a clear direction for the continued development of the Kingdom’s economy.”

A major pillar of Vision 2030 is to “enhance [Bahrain International] airport’s strategic position, stimulate national economic growth, and drive investment into the Kingdom.” The Vision also details calls for an “ambitious, multicultural society,” something that tourism can generate.

A Delayed Opening

The genesis of this new passenger terminal experienced its fair share of turbulence over the years.

An report from September 2019 detailed a group of Bahrani lawyers’ efforts to delay the opening of the terminal. The lawyers claimed that the terminal would not be ready in time for its intended third quarter 2019 opening.

MP Mohammed Al Abbassi proposed moving the grand opening to January 2020. However, the looming threat of COVID-19 would push the grand opening back once again. One year later, the new terminal can finally support passenger traffic.

Featured image/all photos: Bahrain International Airport