Kuwait is considering the construction of a new airport in the country’s north at a cost of $12bn, according to the country’s civil aviation chief.
Sheikh Salman Sabah Salem Al-Hamoud Al-Sabah made the comments on Tuesday at an investment forum, according to state news agency KUNA.
He said the country was expected to see rapid growth in passenger and air cargo traffic over the next 20 years and could need a new aviation hub.
The new airport would include passengers buildings, runways an aircraft control tower and a cargo area, with an estimated annual capacity of 25 million passengers a year.
Sheikh Salman indicated the most appropriate construction method would be through public private partnership with a private sector consortium building, operating and managing the facility.
Around $12bn would be required for construction and the airport could create 15,000 new jobs for the country’s youth, he said.
The General Directorate of Civil Aviation envisions Kuwait becoming a regional hub for transit traffic, much like its peers in Dubai and Doha.
The country is currently finalising a new civil aviation law to allow specialised companies to establish local operations.
US aeroplane manufacturer Boeing is among the companies set to open a permanent office in the country as the aviation market expands.
Plans for the new airport come as Kuwait International Airport continues to suffer from traffic congestion.
Kuwait Airways Company CEO Ibrahim Al-Khuzam said last month that the airport was designed accommodate around 4.5 million passengers a year but was serving closer to 14 million after passenger traffic increased 17 per cent in 2017.
A delayed KD52.89m ($176.3m) support terminal intended as a stop-gap until the opening of the larger $4.3bn Terminal 2 building is set to open in June and will exclusively be used by Kuwait Airways.
This will lift capacity at the airport from 4.5 million to 10 million passengers annually and provide 1,800 parking spaces.
Construction of the larger Terminal 2 began last May, when completed in 2022 it will be able to handle 25 million passengers a year.
A new cargo area is also being built at the airport and will span an area of 3 million square metres.