Salman Al-Sabah President of Civil Aviation : Kuwait plans new airport in the north
Kuwait is considering building a new world-class mega airport to meet the rapid growth in air traffic, Directorate General of the Civil Aviation chief Sheikh Salman Sabah Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah has revealed. "The State of Kuwait is studying putting up a tender for setting up a new airport with capacity of 25 million passengers a year," Sheikh Salman said in a speech at the Kuwait Investment Forum 2018 (KIF2018), which kicked off in Kuwait today. "Taking into consideration the basic requirements for airport building, security and safety standards and weather, the new airport will be located in northern Kuwait." He argued that this site would facilitate the establishment of an integrated airport that would provide all transport and logistic services. Sheikh Salman stated that the government would allocate the land and the private sector would build, operate and manage the project. "Assigning such a mega project to specialized international companies would be an optimal way for achieving partnership between public and private sectors," he noted. He forecasted up to USD 12 billion would be invested in the new airport which would generate over 15,000 job openings and offer great platform for high-qualify training for national cadres by specialized international experts. He underlined that the new project would meet the steady growth in air traffic. "Kuwait will witness a rapid growth in passenger and cargo movement in the coming 20 years, so we study such projects," he clarified. He pointed out that the air traffic at Kuwait International Airport has witnessed remarkable growth in recent years. He stated that the Kuwait International Airport has accommodated 13.7 million passengers in 2017, an increase of 17 percent compared to 2016 and the volume of its air cargo hit 241,000 tons in 2017 compared with 195.5 tons in 2016, he disclosed. "To keep pace with this growth, the DGCA has also revamped the existing airport through a number of projects such as the construction of the new passenger terminal (T2) with a capacity of 25 million passengers annually, scheduled to complete by 2022," he said. Work Paper H.E. Shaikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Homoud Al-Sabah President of Civil Aviation – the State of Kuwait “Air Transport … Creating Investment Opportunity” The Second Session “Trade Facilitation … A Driver for Development” Kuwait Investment Forum Introduction Talking about Kuwait civil aviation takes us back to the beginning of last century, when Kuwait Emirate with its strategic location played a vital role of linking east to east. Kuwait distinguished itself as openness to the world has positioned itsef as an important trade hub countries. This had enabled it to be an important hub connecting Europe with Asia, hence the first civil aircraft landed in Kuwait on the 18th October 1932, marking the beginning of Kuwait civil aviation history. Since then, Kuwait civil aviation has passed through many different stages, exhibited today by the State's eagerness to develop the air transport sector in order to achieve the vision of HH the Amir Shaikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to transform Kuwait into a financial and commercial center which requires quantum leaps in the sector's infrastructure accompanied by modern legislations to keep abreast of international air transport developments. In this paper, we will highlight the new vision of Kuwait Directorate General of Civil Aviation which will develop the air transport sector in light of passengers and cargo traffic growth at Kuwait International Airport. We will also highlight the efforts extended over the past years to develop air transport sector. As well as the ongoing projects. We will also talk about the future upcoming projects and opportunities at Kuwait International Airport, which will be launched over the next 20 years and which is expected to cost $20 billion. Kuwait Civil Aviation’s Vision The vision depends on three principle pillars; the first is Kuwait strategic location in the region, which gives a uniqueness to Kuwait International Airport to become a regional hub for traffic between east and west. The second is Kuwait ancient trade history. The third is the transformation into a regional commercial and financial center in the region aiming at diversifying the state revenues sources. This vision requires huge investments to develop Kuwait air transport sector. As well as tremendous efforts to develop in sea & land transport, communication and technology. For achieving these basic requirements, it is an inevitable to develop infrastructure, rehabilitate national human resources and improve employees’ efficiency through specialized academies. As human element plays vital role in performance excellence, Kuwait Directorate General of Civil Aviation is currently studying a new trend of welcoming specialized academies in military and civil aviation to train and qualify young Kuwaitis. It is the State’s belief that training services open for new horizons for innovation and knowledge transfer. We have completed an ambitious plan to secure specialized international airport operation companies to operate Kuwait Airport terminals. It is a step towards diversifying the State’s national non-oil revenues, as well as upgrading operational efficiency and enhancing the quality of services offered. Notwithstanding the legal issues to comply world aviation changes, we are currently modernizing the legislation infrastructure through finalizing the new aviation law paving the way for establishing specialized aviation companies to act as platforms for international companies. In order to fulfill and comply with international aviation organizations’ requirements, Kuwait government is processing the transformation of Kuwait Directorate General of Civil Aviation into an independent regulatory authority to monitor, control, and oversee the air transport sector in Kuwait for compliance with international systems and regulations. The State of Kuwait embraces an advanced concept of strengthening partnership with international authorities and organizations in the field of air transport such as International Air Transport association (IATA), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and others for benefiting from the global expertise, exchanging of experiences and to boosting common collaboration. Steps towards air transport development Since the beginning of third millennium, the State of Kuwait has had taken important steps when embraced new policies, of which the most important were; the adoption of “open sky”, enhancing private sector partnership and liberalizing ground-handling services. All aimed at improving Kuwait International Airport’s infrastructure in order to elevate the current terminal’s capacity and reinforce operational sectors’ efficiency through modernizing automated systems using the latest applicable technology, that creates new join of operation purposes. The plan had started with the passenger terminal (terminal no. 1) expansion plan 1999 to reach 32 thousand square meter. It included adding new 64 check-in counters in the departure hall to reach a total of
104 counters as well as building a shopping mall and new additional car parking. In 2003, Kuwait government granted new licenses to private sector to establish commercial airlines. Four airlines; Jazeera Airways, Wataniya Airlines, a cargo airline in addition to an air taxi companies were formed. The government also opened the door to private sector to provide ground-handling services, for which National Aviation Services (NAS), a privately owned company, was formed to compete with Kuwait airways in providing ground-handling services to operating airlines at Kuwait airport. This was aimed to promote competition that lead to high quality services at competitive prices. In order to reduce load off passenger terminal no. 1, general aviation terminal (Shaikh Saad Terminal) was built in 2008 and operate under B.O.T. concept. It includes operations at airside, aircraft standings, three stories building which encompasses lounge, offices, meeting room and restaurants. A private company manages and operates the terminal. The current airport projects Kuwait international Airport has witnessed a significant traffic increase in the recent years. The total number of transported passengers reached about 13.7 million in 2017, around 17% increase over previous year of 2016 that amounted to 11.7 million passengers. Air cargo traffic in 2017 was 241,663 tonnes compared to 195,514 tonnes in 2016. To cater for such an increase, many developmental projects were recently introduced: 1. A new passenger terminal (Terminal 2) On 09 may, 2017 under the patronage of HH the Amir Shaikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and in the presence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a new passenger terminal was inaugurated in a dedicated festival. The construction works in Terminal 2 & Terminal 3 started and is ongoing now in a fast pace. The project is expected to be completed in 2022 with a capacity of 25 million passengers annually, which will reinforce the capability of Kuwait International Airport. As part of the state goals, a new state of the art terminal to be established that will deliver the highest level of passenger comfort and new environmental interim for the terminal. The trefoil plan of the terminal features three symmetrical wings of departure gates. The facades span 1.2km in each wing and extend from a dramatic 25m-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 canopy will be extended till the entrance plaza and will be supported by tapering concrete columns that feature organic forms inspired from the contrast between the solidity of the stone and the movement of Kuwait’s traditional dhow sailing boats. The interiors of the terminal are designed for simplicity and ease-of-use with a few level changes. The new terminal project aims to gain LEED gold certification and aim to become the world’s first terminal to attain this level of environmental accreditation. Some of the sustainable features that will be incorporated in the terminal include the roof with a large number of photovoltaic panels that produce solar energy. The terminal facility also provides thermal mass. The new terminal is expected to create 12 thousand job opportunities for engineers and skilled labours especially young Kuwaitis, and to achieve additional annual revenues of $300 million. 2. Build and operate support terminal (Terminal 4) This ongoing project is moving according to its scheduled timetable. It is planned to be dedicated to Kuwait Airways in order to take the load off the main terminal, and mitigate congestion. Its capacity is 4.5 million passengers annually and has 1800 car parking as well as all passenger services such as; duty free, comprehensive commercial and all passengers’ comfort and convenience services. The terminal is located at the northern area of Kuwait Airport, with 14 boarding gates and built on 55 thousand square meter. It will support increasing airport traffic of 10% annually. This will help solving the main problem of the main terminal (Terminal 1) which resulted from traffic growth, and it may be used for certain classified traffic e.g. pilgrims traffic, following the opening of the new terminal (Terminal 2). It is expected to offer 2000 job opportunities for engineers and skilled labours especially young Kuwaitis, and to achieve additional revenues of $60 million annually. 3. Build 2 new runways and control tower It is another step towards improving Kuwait airport infrastructure. The project is very important to boost air traffic movement’s safety level. It was launched on 22nd November 2017 and it includes four components; two new runways, infrastructure development and new control tower. This project will support the operation of the new terminal in addition to providing air navigation system with the most modern equipment that are compatible with the international specifications. One of the new runways with 4.5 KM long will be capable to accommodate giant aircrafts such as Airbus 380 and reduce the heavy load on the existing runways as well as increasing the overall capacity of aircraft movements. 4. A new Cargo City The new Cargo City at Kuwait International airport (First phase) is one of the most important projects in the State’s developmental plan, built on 3 million square meters, it will be the largest cargo city in the middle east. It is located between the western runway and the new third runway. Its first phase will have 67 freighter stations of A380 and B747. The projects also includes roads construction, spaces for tractors parking, cargo transport vehicles, as well as infrastructure works for electricity, water, waste water, constructing cargo handling buildings and other supported logistics. 5. Allocating space for Jazeera Airways terminal Believing in private sector’s role and enhancing partnership between public and private sectors, a land for Jazeera airways terminal was allocated where the company is currently finishing all works to be up and running shortly. It is expected to handle 2.5 million passengers annually. 6. Grant new licenses to establish new ground services providers, airlines catering service providers and aviation fuel providers In order to boost competition among specialized companies and break the monopoly in the air transport market, and to offer customers competitive prices we are currently studying the possibility of granting licenses to new providers of all ground handling, cargo and catering. 7. CIP Lounge at Kuwait International Airport In order to offer prime services to business travellers CIPs, a space was allocated to a privately owned company for building an independent lounge dedicated to the use of CIP travellers. It will be furnished and equipped to provide comfort, privacy and quite place where all travel procedures can be completed including check-in, passport control and customs. It is expected to be opened in 2020 at an approximate cost of $60 million. 8. Modernize Kuwait Airways Aircraft Fleet KU has a planned to modernize and expand its fleet of aircrafts to meet its expanded network, which will help the company increase its market share in the region. The approximate cost of the modernization plan is $5 billion. The company bought (10) B777 at $2 billion cost and leased (15) A350 at $3 billion cost. In this quick showcase of the current developmental projects, the total projects will reach $1.7 billion. It is necessary to cater for the continuous increase in travel demand that needs improvements in air transport arena and open competition among passenger services providers. Future project opportunities: The continuous increase in passenger and cargo traffic in Kuwait during the coming 20 years fosters the need to consider and study a number of project and opportunities: 1. Build new airport All indications prove the continuous increase in passenger and cargo traffic in Kuwait. This should lead to serious consideration of a new airport to accommodate such an increase. It is forecasted that traffic will reach 42 million passengers in 2037, which means a new airport at different location out of residential areas is needed. It could be suitable to build the new airport in the northern part of the country with 25million passenger annual capacity, fulfilling all basic requirements with all safety and security measures, in a most suitable weather condition. This location is appropriate to build complete airport including runways, control tower, passenger & cargo terminal as well as comprehensive services and logistics. The most suitable way to achieve this is through PPP concept this project to international specialized companies where the land would be allocated by the government and the private sector build and operate. It will ensure in one side efficient performance and best passenger services, and on the other side, it provides vocational and technical training to nationals as well as getting knowledge transferred. The expected investment to would be around $12 billion and will offer 4 thousand job opportunities. 2. Develop airport infrastructure It is one of the most important future projects. It includes the modernization of air navigation safety systems, aiming at upgrading Kuwait airport classification from CAT 2 to CAT 3 complying with International Civil Aviation organization recommendations and to follow airport development in our region. It also includes building a special tunnel to link the cargo city with Terminal 2 to ease movement inside the airport. This is in addition to building a group of services and support buildings. The expected cost of this project is $6 billion. Build new runway Kuwait Directorate General of Civil Aviation intends to build fourth runway at the cost of $450 million. 3. The related phases of building and operating the new cargo city This project is crucial to support the cargo city with its projected the cost of one billion dollars. 4. Granting new licenses for different air transport activities Kuwait Directorate General of Civil Aviation considers granting new licenses to offer different services such as airport operation, catering, fuelling, aircraft maintainenece and air navigation. The conclusion All the above steps are part of a comprehensive plan aimed to promote and facilitate air transport in order to receive more air movements to/from Kuwait International Airport, following the adoption of “open sky” policy and the liberalisation of air transport sector from operational constraints. It will have an impact of boosting air traffic growth rates at unprecedented levels between the liberalized sectors that are governed by bilateral agreements between the State of Kuwait and other countries. To meet the challenge facing the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, of traffic growth rates exceeding the present maximum capacity of the main passenger terminal, we have been working hard to expedite completion of all construction works of the new projects that will add to the airport capacity. The State of Kuwait approved future projects, for the coming 20 years, to execute infrastructure development projects at an expected investment of nearly $20 billion; one of which terminal 2 is the most important. To open a wider collaborative spectrum with private sector, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has paved the way to real partnership with the specialized aviation companies whether international or national. More strengthened cooperation in different fields, such as managing and operating terminal, airlines catering, fuelling, aircraft maintenance, air navigation services as well as passenger and cargo handling which will be provided by private sector. The State of Kuwait aims in taking all those steps, to open competition, improve services with total quality concepts applied in aviation industry, which will eventually lead to encourage foreign direct investments to in air transport sector in Kuwait.