Kuwait Airways says new terminal to open in June

The support terminal was originally due to open at the start of last year but has been hit by delays

A delayed KD52.89m ($176.3m) terminal intended as a stop-gap to ease traffic congestion at Kuwait International Airport will open in June, the CEO of Kuwait Airways has said.

Plans for the new facility, which will lift capacity at the airport from five million to 10 million passengers a year, were first announced in October 2015 when it became clear the airport would need extra capacity ahead of the opening of another $4.3bn passenger terminal.

Read: Kuwait plans new terminal as stop-gap for delayed airport expansion

The support terminal was originally due to open at the start of last year but has been hit by delays.

It will be used exclusively by Kuwait Airways until Terminal 2 is completed and spans an area of 55,000 square metres with nine gates and 2,450 parking spaces.

Kuwait Airways Company CEO Ibrahim Al-Khuzam confirmed the June opening to state news agency KUNA.

He said the government-backed airline would need a “comprehensive change in its facilities to return to competition and profits”, the news agency indicated.

Al-Khuzam took the helm of the loss-making government airline in May 2017 and has since drawn up a strategy focussing on the commercial sector to return to growth.

Read: Kuwait Airways appoints new CEO

He indicated constraints at Kuwait International were among the factors holding back these plans at present, stating that the airport was designed with a current capacity for four million passengers a year but was serving 14 million.

Kuwait Airways will launch new routes to Tbilisi, Georgia, and Trabzon, Turkey, over the summer and is considering measures to reduce costs, Al-Khuzam added.

Construction of the larger Terminal 2 began last May, when completed it will be able to handle 25 million passengers a year.

Read: Construction work begins on Kuwait’s new $4.3bn airport terminal