An ideal gateway to East and West

It’s all systems go as Bahrain takes off into the future with the opening of the new Bahrain International Airport (BIA) passenger terminal complex.

It also makes BIA the most modern boutique airport in the Gulf, which is set to be a key driver of national economic growth.

An investment of $1.1 billion over a five-year modernisation programme has culminated in a state-of-the-art passenger terminal that can cater to 14 million passengers and handle 130,000 flight movements a year.

The major expansion plan was first announced by the late Prime Minister His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa during a Cabinet meeting in October 2013.

He laid the foundation stone for the massive project in February 2016, in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince Prime Minister.

Boasting a strategic location in the heart of the Gulf and more than 70 years of industry-related experience, the BIA has served as an ideal gateway linking East and West.

Currently, the airport caters to multiple airlines and has been a key distribution hub to global cargo companies such as DHL for more than 30 years.

Bahraini flag carrier Gulf Air contributed the lion’s share of traffic at BIA, accounting for 67.27 per cent of weekly frequencies and 63.57pc of weekly seats based on pre-Covid 2019 data.

HRH Prince Salman has described the new terminal as a major step towards achieving the kingdom’s ambitious Economic Vision 2030 diversification and sustainability goals of developing its position as a financial, cultural, and aviation hub in the region.

“This strategic infrastructure project reflects the kingdom’s progress developing its national economy and supports its comprehensive development, led by His Majesty King Hamad,” he said.

“The new airport will expand and enhance Bahrain’s connectivity and further strengthen its position as an increasingly important hub in the region.”

He added that the project would provide quality opportunities for citizens within the kingdom’s logistics sector, describing it as ‘a key priority sector of Bahrain’s diversifying economy’.

What’s New?

Lounges

Hala Bahrain will not only operate the Pearl premium lounges at the new airport but also add limousine services, valet parking and a private jet terminal lounge to its bouquet of offerings that include meet-and-greet assistance, landside and airside chauffeur services, porterage and trolley management services, passenger clearance assistance, e-visa assistance, floral services, luggage wrapping, and Commercially Important Person (CIP) handling services.

The new terminal will also feature a dedicated check-in area for both Falcon Gold and economy class passengers of Gulf Air as well as a brand new Falcon Gold lounge that is double in size and capacity catering to over 400 passengers at any given time, compared to the previous one in the old airport.

New features in the Falcon lounge include a children’s area, shower rooms, prayer space, a quiet area and live cooking stations.

The new terminal also features the Unaccompanied Minor programme for children aged two to 14 years who are travelling alone.

The dedicated Unaccompanied Minors’ Lounge is equipped with interactive toys, gaming consoles, a reading area, and seating arrangements.

A dedicated agent is also on hand to deliver a more personal experience.

The room has a view of the concourse so children can watch the planes take off and land.

Dining, Shopping and Services

The new airport’s mix of food and beverage outlets, which are spread across 3,150sqm in the departures area, include regional debuts of the first TGI Fridays in an airport in the Gulf, and the Middle East’s first Jamie’s Deli and Pizzeria – a concept from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

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Other offerings include Lumee, a well-known Bahraini concept; Illycaffè, a world-famous coffee brand; local favourites Al Baik and YaSalam!; quick-service global powerhouses – Burger King, KFC, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Crepafe, The Terrace and Upper Crust.

Brands marking their Bahrain foray at the airport include UK’s Millie’s Cookies; Levito – an Italian concept; Jaipur Café serving Indian cuisine; and Camden Food Co, a grab-and-go food concept; Caffé Ritazza, an Italian coffee shop.

In addition to stores for cosmetics, perfumes and fragrances, sunglasses, gold and watches, electronics, souvenirs, fashion, toys, confectionery operated by Bahrain Duty Free, also present are Nasser Pharmacy, stc Bahrain, Batelco, Zain, Relay, WH Smith, Michael Kors, Tumi, Hugo Boss, Mont Blanc, Ralph Lauren, Emporio Armani, Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Body Works, Al Zain, Souq Al Qaysaria and Boots.

Bahrain Specialist Hospital (BSH) will operate the new airport clinic under a 10-year concession.

Also opening soon will be the Bahrain Airport Hotel located opposite departure gate 15.

It features 24 individual sleeping pods, 17 compact rooms, 24 standard rooms, 17 family rooms and one room equipped with facilities for the physically challenged.

An express laundry service will be offered for select garments that guests can have ready before boarding their next flight.

There will also be a mini-gym and a spa service.

It is managed and operated by the Gulf Hotels Group in a joint venture with the Gulf Air Group Holding.

Art @ the Airport

Transforming the terminal into a space where art meets architecture is a stunning collection of marble sculptures commissioned especially for BIA from 10 leading Bahraini sculptors.

The pieces depict Bahrain’s heritage, culture and closely-knit societal fabric.

The Bahrain International Airport Sculpture Symposium is a Bahrain Airport Company initiative in collaboration with Hend Gallery.

The Pearl Lounge features a collection of artworks commissioned specially for BIA from 15 of Bahrain’s leading artists.

The pieces emphasise Bahrain’s major artistic and cultural contributions in a variety of distinctive styles, ranging from abstract to realism.

The artwork incorporating the work of celebrated Bahraini artists Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa and Hussain Al Sunni is displayed on the ‘Office Block’ walls overlooking the main security area, the central hub of the terminal through which all departing passengers must pass.

The archaeology gallery illustrates the historical significance of the island of Bahrain, which was once considered the land of immortality and opulence.

The Cultural Heritage Galleries, located in the Departures Area, have been curated and produced by the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities with the support of the Transportation and Telecommunications Ministry and Bahrain Airport Company (BAC).

Ease of use and accessibility

Officials have said the new terminal will deliver a more comfortable and convenient travel experience for Passengers with Reduced Mobility (PRM).

It will feature dedicated PRM facilities and services to ensure greater accessibility and comfort.

Travellers can avail of PRM-friendly check-in counters and information desks, dedicated e-Gates, private toilets and a dedicated lower counter at immigration control.

PRM travellers can also easily collect their luggage at the baggage reclaim carousels, which have dedicated access spots.

There are dedicated curbside parking spaces at the entrance and spaces on each level in the multi-storey car park.

Showcase of Bahraini Hospitality

Transportation and Telecommunications Minister and BAC chairman Kamal Ahmed said airport employees will strive to deliver exceptional customer service at the new terminal, and create a positive first impression for passengers arriving in Bahrain.

“Since the establishment of the kingdom’s aviation sector, the warm and welcoming nature of airport employees has been the foundation of the travel experience at BIA,” he said.

“We strive to maintain this approach at the new terminal, which will help to position Bahrain as one of the region’s leading airports and ensure that travellers enjoy a comfortable and memorable experience.

Although the new terminal is four times larger than the old airport and features enhanced facilities and services, we believe the exceptional customer service is what passengers will remember most fondly.”

Lucrative deals

Lucrative commercial deals and contractual incentives will be provided to companies operating to and from BIA.

The aim is to boost traffic flow and attract new business, Mr Ahmed said.

“As life returns to normal we hope aviation companies as others related worldwide recover especially with massive vaccinations and the country turning a new page through our new airport.

“Bahrain will offer attractive contracts to companies operating at, to and from the airport to bolster traffic flow.”

 

Source: http://www.gdnonline.com/Details/924241/An-ideal-gateway-to-East-and-West

 

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