Complex Made Simple

Kuwait’s new terminal T2 boosts the local economy, ME aviation

Image source: Decanherald

Not only is Kuwait’s International Airport (KIA) new terminal (T2) a boost to Kuwait’s local economy but is also a major push to the region’s travel ambitions

KIA’s T2 will provide 15,000 job opportunities for young Kuwaiti nationals T2 aims to gain LEED gold certification and become the world’s first terminal to attain this level Middle East airports will need $151 bn in investments in the next 20 years to meet future air passenger growth

Kuwait is set to spend nearly $1.8 billion on five strategic infrastructure projects for the 2021-22 period, and of the five, the biggest spend of $1.2bn is for the Kuwait International Airport Terminal T2.

Not only is Kuwait’s International Airport (KIA) new terminal (T2) a boost to Kuwait’s local economy but is also a major push to the region’s travel ambitions to return to profitability and pre-COVID-19 traffic volumes.

The project’s investment value also leads among the region’s top 5 airport projects.

T2 and Kuwaiti jobs

KIA’s T2 will provide 15,000 job opportunities for young Kuwaiti nationals, Minister of Public Works Rana Al-Fares revealed recently. The construction of the first phase out of three of T2 reached 54% in August, Fares told state media KUNA.

Image source: gulf-consult

The minister described T2 as a facility that will provide a major boost to aviation services in the country in line with international standards.  

“We plan to take the project to a grade A ranking in terms of services by the International Air Transport Association (IATA),” said the minister. Upon completion, the terminal will have 5,000 car parking spaces with a capacity to receive 25 million passengers annually. It will also feature 30 fixed bridges to accommodate 51 aircraft simultaneously, in addition to a modern hotel in the transit area, according to KUNA.

KIA and T2 details

T2’s first phase will add a capacity of 13 million passengers a year. T2 construction started in May 2017 and is expected to be completed in late 2022.

Passenger flow at the airport has tripled in the last 15 years, from less than 5 million in 2004 to more than 15 million in 2019, and is forecast to reach 25 million by 2025.

In addition to T2, the project includes the development of a third runway and the expansion and renovation of the two existing runways and other facilities.

Image source: MPW

When complete, the terminal will have the capacity to serve 21 Code F (A380) aircraft and 9 Code C (A320) aircraft, according to the information posted on Limak’s website. This order can be rearranged through the Multiple Aircraft Ramp System (MARS) to serve 51 Code C aircraft. 

The new terminal’s design is inspired by local art and architecture and the trefoil plan of the terminal features three symmetrical wings of departure gates. The facades span 1.2 km and extend from a dramatic 25 m-high central space. The building is planned with a single roof canopy with glazed openings that will filter daylight and deflect direct solar radiation.

The new terminal will have four levels above the ground and one underground over an area of 6.8 million sqms with a built area of 708,000 sqms and a roof area of 315,000 sqms. It will feature 120 check-in desks and 13 baggage handling systems that will handle 2,930 bags an hour.

Image source: MPW

In the first phase, the terminal will feature between 30 and 51 aircraft contact stands.    

The new terminal project aims to gain LEED gold certification and become the world’s first terminal to attain this level of environmental accreditation. The terminal will include a large number of photovoltaic panels that produce solar energy on the roof. The terminal facility also provides thermal mass.

A construction contract was awarded to Turkish company Limak who contracted Otis to supply 190 elevators for the new terminal in September 2019.

Regional airport projects

The global airport industry is facing an unprecedented challenge, according to Airports Council International (ACI). ACI expects domestic passenger traffic to reach 2019 levels in 2023, while the recovery of international passenger traffic will require one more year, thus getting back to 2019 levels only in 2024.  

ACI’s ‘The Global Outlook of Airport Capital Expenditure’ has forecasted a capital need of $151 bn for Middle East airports in the next 20 years to meet future air passenger growth. 

Image source: MPW- T2 

Here are the top 5 airport projects in the GCC. 

1- Kuwait Airport Expansion – Passenger Terminal 2  

Country: Kuwait 

Estimated cost: $4.36 bn 

Status: Under construction 

Expected completion: Q4 2022

2- Hamad International Airport Expansion (Phase 2) Concourse D & E  

Country: Qatar 

Estimated cost: $1 bn  

Status: Phase 2A under construction 

Expected completion: Q2 2022 

3- New Sharjah International Airport Expansion

Country: UAE 

Estimated cost: $517 million  

Status: Under construction 

Expected completion: Q4 2024

4- King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Airport 

Country: Saudi Arabia 

Estimated cost: $500 mn 

Status: Under construction 

Expected completion: Q2 2022

5- Musandam Airport

Country: Oman 

Estimated cost: $250 mn 

Status: Design phase 

Expected completion: Q4 2026