Bahrain airport expansion plan revised
Manama, March 16, 2008
Plans for a major BD300 million ($794 million) expansion of Bahrain International Airport have been revised, it has emerged.
Bahrain Airport Company (BAC) chairman Shaikh Daij bin Salman Al Khalifa revealed the proposed Passenger Terminal Expansion Project would concentrate on expanding the terminal capacity to meet the country's air transportation requirements for the next two decades.
Shaikh Daij told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication, that the roads within the airport and the network linking it to the new Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Port and industrial areas would benefit importers, exporters and local traders as well as strengthening Bahrain's status as a major regional transhipment centre.
'Work on the Remote Apron is about to commence shortly,' he said. 'The other parts of the Passenger Terminal Expansion Project are in the process of being reviewed and fine tuned.'
'On the basis of the review, a revised schedule and the business plans will be drawn and implemented expeditiously.
'I am optimistic that the Passenger Terminal Expansion Project will be completed, as far as possible, according to schedule even if there is some delay in commencement.'
Shaikh Daij revealed BAC was in the process of reviewing and fine tuning an ambitious master plan commissioned by Civil Aviation Affairs (CAA) and the Passenger Terminal Expansion Project.
'For this purpose, BAC will appoint an international consultant company with vast consultancy experience in airport management and development of airport infrastructure and facilities,' he said.
'The Tender Board will open the final bids within two weeks, following which the company will be appointed to undertake the project.
'The selected company will assist BAC in formulating a comprehensive strategic plan for the airport.
'Based on their recommendations and bearing in mind the core objectives of the BAC, these two projects will be fine tuned and implemented.'
BAC will ensure that the rights of the employees transferred from the various departments of CAA are fully protected, Shaikh Daij confirmed.
'The first group being transferred is from the Airport Directorate, headed by director Mohammed Al Kaabi,' he said.
'More than 200 staff will join the BAC, followed by other groups. Those joining BAC will first retire from CAA and then will be absorbed by BAC.'
'They will be granted an attractive salary package by the Civil Service Bureau. When they join BAC, they will receive a 20 per cent increase to the basic salary that they were drawing at CAA.'
Shaikh Daij also said that the strategic plan would cover a number of initiatives such as preparing an innovative scheme covering the existing land in use, surplus land available and the additional land proposed to be acquired, improving airport services and developing the runway and taxiway.
He said constructing new buildings to develop and expand the range of services, improving airport procedures and enhancing staff performance would also come under the spotlight.
Shaikh Daij also said the airport's existing terminal was operating close to capacity with more than 7 million passengers a year, an average annual passenger growth of 9 per cent and an average annual cargo growth of 7 per cent.
However, he added that it was too early to talk about the possible privatisation of the airport.
The GDN had reported last November that the cost of the expansion could double up to BD300 million owing to soaring material and labour costs and revisions to the plan. The bill was originally estimated at BD126 million.-TradeArabia News Service
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