Shopping complex and cineplex call for airport

A shopping complex, cineplex and a play park could be amongst plans for the new Bahrain International Airport, if councillors have their way.

A proposal to introduce the new features was presented to the Muharraq Municipal Council by airport area councillor and financial, administrative and legislative committee chairman Bassem Al Majdami.

The 207,000sqm passenger terminal building, opened in January this year, includes a 4,600sqm departure hall, 104 check-in counters, 36 passport control booths and 24 security screening points.

Should the proposal get the go ahead, the council will meet officials from the Transportation and Telecommunication Ministry to discuss options.

“Why are we letting transit passengers – some staying between two to eight hours between connecting flights – leave the airport without giving them the opportunity to enjoy themselves and spend some money?” asked Mr Al Majdami.

“Sitting in a lounge, often for free if you have the right credit card, or endlessly hanging around a coffee shop doesn’t serve the airport well and suggests that the only thing transit passengers can do is sleep, eat or read … or wait in boredom.”

Mr Al Majdami said the average spending of $100 during time spent in the airport was lacking ambition.

“We could have travellers buying branded clothes, accessories, gifts and even antiques from our Productive Bahraini Families, while having a cineplex and a play park for children to enjoy.

“Hong Kong International Airport and Salzburg Airport, amongst others, already have multiple facilities for transit passengers, tourists and even locals to use.

“There is enough space in the new airport to accommodate this move, which we believe would be a forward approach to the on-going modernisation plan.”

The new terminal is set to reach greater heights with the completion of the second phase of development in the first quarter of next year.

Transportation and Telecommunications Minister Kamal Ahmed told the Shura Council in April this year that it will include two new gates and four additional aircraft aprons.

The new airport terminal is four times the size of the one it replaced and designed to deliver a more personal, Bahraini feel to visitors. It will be able to accommodate 14 million passengers a year. Other features include two main hospitality lounges, a hotel, a pharmacy and a privately-managed airport clinic.

Equipped with the latest technology and supported by new infrastructure, it will not only increase the airport’s capacity but also deliver a ‘hassle-free experience and the highest standards of luxury’.




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