Do we need a new airport?

Posted by Mark

newkuwaitairport

A few days ago I posted about how the construction of the new Kuwait airport was been put on hold indefinitely and oddly enough, some people were actually pleased with the news. One of the comments was that the new airport would make Kuwait very difficult to live in (because more people would come to Kuwait) while another person didn’t think anything was wrong with the current airport.


[YouTube]

I personally would love a new airport especially the Foster + Partners design that got approved (watch the video above). I travel a lot and arriving at a clean, bright and organized airport is a much more positive experience than arriving at a crowded, gloomy and depressing one. I’d love to pass through an eGate and avoid the long lines at immigration or wander around a large duty free to kill time before my flight. Also the first thing new visitors to Kuwait will see is the airport and first impressions matter. Kuwait is so much better than what the current airport leads you to believe.

But that’s my opinion, I’m curious to know if I am alone in this because I don’t think I am. Do we need a new airport?


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84 comments, add your own...


  1. Abood Shehada says:

    I understand what that individual meant by more people will visit Kuwait but that isn’t necessarily a negative aspect. More tourism means Kuwaits economy can diversify meaning a better economy (which I understand that, thankfully, we have a very good economy). I absolutely love Kuwait and know what Kuwait is about and what is has, but as you said it completely misrepresents Kuwait. It’s even worse when compared to other airports in the region like Dubai.

    • Zorbon says:

      I don’t understand how a new airport will result in having more people “visit” Kuwait if Immigration and Visa Policies don’t change!

  2. q8expat says:

    It’s good to have a new airport… the present one is definitely bursting at the seams, and that not necessarily means its cause of tourists.

  3. It would be nice to have a new airport to show off to travelers. It might have a ‘wow’ affect on them until they go outside and see the ‘national bird’ of Kuwait – the flying trash bag and the endless amounts of garbage piled everywhere. I’m sure they will be impressed by the huge fancy buildings and having to fight over parking.

    When or if they do build a new one will their be cracks appearing after a few months like most of the buildings in Kuwait? Will there be some investigations into the mishandling of funds? I guess we will wait and see.

    Will a new airport change the attitudes of the employees, doubt it, will this put an end to the ‘trolley mafia’, probably not. Until then we can travel next door to Qatar with their new airport or Dubai with their modern ideas.

    • AJ says:

      +10000

      The national bird comment made my day!!

    • Simple Man says:

      I agree you want your experience to improve after you arrive. The airport should be on par with all the other government buildings like the co op in Adan dirty falling apart ( think paint is illegal to be used on a government facility once it is built).

      besides the airport is fine just add more carts in the gate area and get the immigration workers to man the stations.

  4. Sumsang says:

    Kuwait is NOT so much better than what the current airport leads you to believe. The airport perfectly matches most of the country.

    • djelibaby says:

      agreed – i always find it poetically true to walk past tea drinking cops who dont make eye contact unless they’re yelling, into a gloomy airport which is often filled with workers and not so happy ppl, and then into a country with pink signs … i dunno why but that last part fits.

  5. Abdullah says:

    I don’t agree with a new airport because it can be a waste but an expansion for the current one is what I agree. I think they should make this design, and than they renovate the older one.

    I don’t like Qatar or UAE due to their secrets and simply personal agendas.

  6. q80 says:

    YES WE NEED A NEW AIRPORT ASAP!!

    Airports are considered one of the important factors in competency between cities. Current airport can’t handle large numbers of visitors and air flights.

    International airlines prefer to choose other cities in the gulf region due to the facilities and number of passengers.

    Kuwait can’t move into a competitive financial city without a proper international airport connected with flights to extensive destinations around the globe!!

  7. malek says:

    Kuwait definitely needs new airport and mostly fix their roads that got lots of wholes ruining our cars.
    you can’t compare the current airport to the nearby airports like Qatar, Dubai, Jordan…etc. you can only compare it to Syria airport…even Syria airport is much much better.

    • Ahmad says:

      haha malek! Seriously Syria? Yeh even Baghdad is building a new airport. The airport should be built for many reasons and the main reason why a new airport hasn’t broken ground is shameful on a government performance level. Primarily because it is THE GATEWAY TO THIS NATION it is imperative that this project move forward if National Pride matters to its leaders. I just went to one of the poorest countries in the world, Myanmar, and they have a nicer airport. My son was happy to come home to Kuwait from college and when he entered the airport, AND especially when he saw how disorganized immigration is, he felt really ashamed for his country because like Mark, who I know is not Kuwaiti but has lived all his life in Kuwait, wants to see this country move forward. It is not fair that there is not more transparency in government, and that there is a lack of leadership in pushing forward projects like the airport and overhauling the national carrier. Passengers are relieved that the UAE, with a functioning government came in, albeit they and their passengers were fed up with that airport, decided to finance going through Sheikh Saad Terminal to bring some civility to their passengers flying experience out/in Kuwait. I bet even the Kuwaitis arm wrestle, pull wasta, and beg to work at this terminal. It is SOOOOOO simple to solve the problems of Kuwait and there are qualified companies that will build a new airport for Kuwait, but there is lack of vision and duty to the nation in this country and it appears to outside channels that really nobody cares to move it forward (the few comments you got). That is what is sad, because not only for the pipe dream of tourism coming to fruition, but to improve the image of this nation which is not so flattering at the moment. I haven’t even touched on the subject of future generations? Have they been abandoned?

  8. lolguy says:

    I think more than a fancy looking airport, a functional one is required. One where I need to pass through 3 security checks before I step on to my flight is plain silly. Also it would not hurt if the staff is more pleasant.

  9. Dodada says:

    a NEW AIRPORT FOR US.

    we deserve to have a good airport, so we can travel stress free.

    its seems people are addicted to this stress full society

    • Matt says:

      I’m not sure the stress of travelling in and out of Kuwait has anything to do with the physical structure of the airport itself, but rather by the “people” inhabiting it.

    • Matt says:

      I’m not sure the stress of travelling in and out of Kuwait has anything to do with the physical structure of the airport itself, but rather by the “people” inhabiting it.

  10. Ron says:

    A very beautiful design and yes we do need a new airport please!

  11. ATG says:

    We need the metro first !

    • ATG says:

      One thing more , what about the parking, from the diagram it look like there will not be any expansion to the existing parking specially the long term :(

  12. Ashraf says:

    So with the new Airport do we get a renewed attitude from the employees too?

    if not, we don’t need a new airport…

    yalla yalla :P

  13. Jaber says:

    Yes, we need a new airport.
    the current one yefashel

  14. Mac_leb says:

    Man . The current airport was designed by a very famous Japanese architect called kenzo tange . You don’t say gloomy about such an amazing architect work. It’s just that it’s not well maintained … usally old buildings needs to be treaded and have regular maintenance work to stay in shape . Don’t get too excited about new buildings even if it’s by famous architects …. I mean come on have you seen the international affairs building in the AUB . It’s by THE Zaha Hadid – and it has a big mistake that no one can ignore just look at the surrounding buildings in the Oval garden and you will know what I mean

    • Mark says:

      The current airport was NOT designed by Kenzo Tange. The airport Kenzo designed has been completely overhauled, refurbished, uglified and there is barely any resemblance anymore. I grew up with the Kenzo Tange airport and this isn’t it. Here are a couple of before and after examples:

      Before
      http://webzoom.freewebs.com/botzbornstein/3.jpg

      After
      http://webzoom.freewebs.com/botzbornstein/3.2.JPG

      Before
      http://webzoom.freewebs.com/botzbornstein/AirportTangeMosque.jpg

      After
      http://webzoom.freewebs.com/botzbornstein/AirportMosque.jpg

      Also not sure why you think the Zaha Hadid building in AUB campus is a mistake, I love it. What did you want her to do? Design a building that looks old and has a red roof, it’s Zaha Hadid her mind is in the future which is what makes her designs so out of this world.

      For the readers who don’t know what building Mac_leb is reffering to, here is a link with pics https://www.behance.net/gallery/14524385/Archi-IFI-by-Zaha-Hadid

      • Mac_leb says:

        I studied architecture for 5 years and continued with another year of masters . Belive me I know what I am saying when I say it’s a mistake . Zaha hadid designs doesn’t belong to such an atmosphere . They accepted her proposal not because it the best either urban wise nor design wise . Fyi she took her bachelor degree in the aub. I think it was in math . As a favor to the university she designed this building and of course because she is zaha and that is lebanon …. they couldn’t say no to such an honor. Anyway I mean no disrespect just saying my and many other architects opinion. New isn’t always better . A good design must relate to the surroundings color wise ratio wise or even shape wise . And form must always form the function

        • Mark says:

          For me because the building doesn’t relate to the surroundings is why I think it’s so fantastic. It sticks out like a sore thumb, it doesn’t match anything else on campus and it looks like AUB if it was going to be featured in a Star Wars movie.

  15. Sami says:

    The defeatist attitude is becoming more and more prevalent in the country. Decades of corruption in the government did this to us.

  16. air traffic ATC says:

    as an air traffic controller working there i must say i would be glad to work in the new airport since our airport right now is old enough to to replace and not suitable for the new moveming of the air traffic in the ground and many new type of air craft the won’t fit in gate in our old airport ex : airbus 380 we dont even have gate for it now

    so kuwait really need new airport .

    • Mark says:

      Isn’t emirates going to start flying the 380 here next month?

      • Ahmad says:

        Yes, if that airport can accommodate it. Do you ever watch Airport 24/7 on the discovery channel? There is a lot of preparation if an airport allows a plane like this to land. All I can say there will be ALOT of pissed airline passengers who started their journey in Dubai to London, for example, and have to do a stopover in Kuwait? They will get the shock of their lives if they get off the plane, although you can now get a Starbucks and a Pinkberry :)

  17. hellppp says:

    a new airport terminal for Kuwaitis only, Expat use the old terminal.

    • SonyBoy says:

      Talk about racism right there……. I’m a Kuwaiti myself and I find your commend to be both, offensive and disgraceful.

    • LuvQ8 says:

      Ya, a separate terminal for Kuwaitis ONLY !!!! even with the fact they have a separate queue for immigration as of now which they enjoy .

      I totally agree with the fact its your country and your rules , so I am guessing you don;t travel a lot around the world coz that;s not how it works elsewhere . Hence you don;t require a new airport and you can stick to the present one.

    • XV says:

      Surely you can’t be serious.

      Lets not discuss the inherent discrimination, how do you propose they do that? By having segregated flights also? LOL

      What a joke.

    • Ahmad says:

      Here we go…….Exclusive, not Inclusive. That is not how you run a successful carrier, you treat all your passengers without discrimination. Kuwait Airways, are you reading this? BUT hellpppp, you will need two airports and this airport could be used, like Terminal 2 for low-budget carriers or those that don’t want to fly out of the new terminal due to higher fees. It was also reported yesterday that Kuwait wants to charge airlines to fly in its airspace. oooopps detour!

  18. SonyBoy says:

    Until Kuwait becomes a tourist attraction destination, I honestly see nothing wrong with the current airport.

  19. De says:

    Your spot on Mark!
    Please fix the airport!!

  20. MAK says:

    YES PLEASE! I need one with more destinations

  21. Ali Sleeq says:

    The least they can do is make a new parking building.

    The traffic is insane (entering and exiting) with no places to park.

  22. Yousuf M says:

    Travelling stress free?
    Kuwait is the fastest immigration (disregard the behaviour of the employees, they’re never gonna be good) even with those long lines, you’re faster than the new terminal 3 in Mumbai (that’s saying a lot)

    Small Airport = Faster travel to the gates or getting out of the airport.

  23. P.J. says:

    What’s with the ‘we’? You are not a Kuwaiti…

  24. Spikz says:

    No need of a new airport. Just change the attitude of the F*&^in officials first.

  25. Kuzbara says:

    do we need a better functioning airport? YES. Does this mean we need to build a new airport? NO.

    1- Get rid of the “mall”, or atleast make it more friendly (it is just too packed with unnecessary shops right now)

    2- Build an extra floor to separate arrival passengers from departure passengers (this in itself might get rid of one of the security checkpoints, given that the security check at the gate is done to make sure no arriving passenger is handing over something to a departing passenger)

    3- Get rid of the mall at the arrival floor to expand baggage area and to give more space for the immigration arrival area. No one should be allowed to wait for arriving guests within the existing area. They should be pushed back towards the parking area or find another location for it.

    4- Maybe push the parking area somewhere towards the cargo terminal to make it less crowded at the airport entrance.

    • Ahmad says:

      Kuzbara in all his/her wisdom should run that airport! See, these suggestions are so simple. But the person who is collecting the key money is the problem. You need check-in desks, enlarge immigration and expand the parking lot. Ditch the mall people! there are too many security points. Most importantly install EGATE so that residents don’t have to stand in line with all those new visa arrivals or make a section separate for new visa arrivals. Enlarge baggage claim area and install a new luggage facility at the airport to process bags quicker. SEND immigration to PR classes!!!!

  26. Rick says:

    I have an important question. When are you going to post the Ramadan food specials for restaurants in Kuwait?

  27. blarneyBoB says:

    if only they can get rid of the trolley mafia :-)

  28. Ali says:

    Our current airport is a complete eyesore, and it’s been in need of renovation for as long as I’ve been visiting it. With that being said our current airport is kind of small and a new airport can’t be the worst thing in the world in comparison.

  29. Pedro says:

    With the comments and unfaithful people in kuwait (Kuwaiti’s and Expats) I simply Give up !!

    Bunch of hateful people full of negativity all in a small country that’s the result

  30. a says:

    We don’t need a new airport

  31. To Foster or Not To says:

    In my view all you need is for the present airport to have more and tidier better provisioned rest rooms and better designed smoking lounges- a far cry from the Auschwitz style gas chambers you have got with something that is bit more sleek affording greater privacy and is women friendly. It’s tough being a girl at KWI International and wanting to light up for a fag today. Other than that, I really cant complain much. For one thing you are generally out of the terminal building after deplaning in about three quarters of an hour; the time it could take you to reach the immigration lines in most major airports.

    However, it could do with a major face lift to pump up the aesthetics of the terminal.

  32. Mathai says:

    Its high time the airport has been upgraded.

    There should be more seats at the gates so that people don’t have to circle around like zombies waiting for the gates to open.

    Get rid of half the shops in duty free

    Increase the number of counters or at least have people posted at the empty counters during rush time (KA especially)

    Cancel the contract of the company that provides trolley services and sack all the members of the trolley mafia

    Increase parking spaces at the short term lot and for heavens sake build a new long term parking lot.

    And please enforce the No Smoking rule at the food courts and public areas.

    Btw this caught my eye.

    “.. One of the comments was that the new airport would make Kuwait very difficult to live in (because more people would come to Kuwait)..”

    What? Where do people come up with all these ideas?
    A city is supposed to grow to accommodate a growing population. That’s how its been for ages! Hasn’t anyone played Age of Empires or Sim City? :P

    Over here its just the opposite. Power and water shortages, traffic jams and long queues? Lets get rid of half the population!

    • ali says:

      Kuwait City wasn’t built to accommodate 3.8 million people.

      The population increased so quickly. The infrastructure wasn’t meant to accommodate this many people. Kuwaitis have always numbered 40% of the population – this has been the average throughout the past four decades. Today, Kuwaitis are merely 31% of the population.

      Between September 2012 and December 2012, Kuwaitis went from numbering 40% of the population to 30%.

      The biggest demographic increase has been Egyptians.

  33. grogfa says:

    Why is there a need for a new airport?
    - The new airport by Fosters is a beauty. But I personally don’t see the need for a new airport as Kuwait has no “touristic” value. The current requirements of the airport are being sufficiently met with it’s faster than “normal” entry/exit scenario.

    For whom is the new airport?
    - Still is a question.

    What is the purpose of the new airport?
    - Does the Kuwait airlines authority plan to have many international flights, with Kuwait becoming an international transit zone? If so, then there is a need for an international caliber airport. But that is not the case. The need for a new airport may arise strictly out of necessity to just create a new airport with no added value.

  34. san says:

    I feel this airport is more than enough.In less than 15 mins we can do the immigration.In india we have to reach airport atleast 3 hrs before departure to get the boarding pass and to do the immigration.Here in less than 1 hr we can do all the things.

  35. Rommel says:

    When we talk about an airport, we generally look at two aspects. Aesthetics and efficiency! I think KIA is pretty OK in areas compared to efficiency compared to similar airports. We can do a bit with the aesthetics though.

    Also, if you see the long term plan of Kuwait Govt, the population of Kuwait is expected to decline and not increase. This is due to the fact that the govt. will be rightsizing the local to expatriate ratio. That will also reduce the load on the airport.

    Finally, as per IMF, Kuwait will start to run a budget deficit if they do not control their costs. I am sure that Kuwait govt is very careful in planning how they will spend their precious money. Else, they will end up as Bahrain or Oman.

    Cheers,

  36. Ahmad says:

    “Failed Kuwaiti carrier Wataniya Airways is reportedly planning a comeback as soon as the first quarter of 2015.
    The airline has begun efforts to re-launch by attempting to raise KD24m ($85m) and lease an initial two planes, according to Kuwait Times.” I wonder if it will share Sheikh Saad Terminal with FLYDUBAI? I think it would be advantageous for multiple carriers to fly out of this terminal considering the state of affairs at the other terminal KIA. Again, I wouldn’t market this as a luxury carrier, but market it an inclusive airline for this country. I liked the airline, but I never viewed it as luxurious and this failed them, but I also don’t view FLYDUBAI as a discount carrier. By the time you finish a FLYDUBAI ticket, you are paying more than Emirates on the Dubai route, but I take it only because it flies out of SST and I by-pass the chaos at KIA.

    I

  37. Aeroport says:

    Maybe just maybe the baggage carousel area and the baggage check in areas need a revamp- spiffed up is the word I am looking for here. Showers and private cabanas would be great to have also.
    On balance give me a smallish airport any day on the lines of Vancouver or Edinburgh rather than a Chek Lap Kok, LHR or Dubai. The only exception to this I feel is Tokyo Narita which works like clock work orange even though it is a mammoth operation but leave it to the Japanese. Not something that the rest of the world can easily emulate.

    Anyway, I find whereas most major world airports are lacking in a porter service, Kuwait airport is awash with them. So it’s not all bad :)

  38. Spikz says:

    Kill Trolley MAFIA too , please deport those guy’s to Bangladesh or whichever country they have come from.

  39. ibnturab says:

    No need for a new airport. I’ll settle for a bathroom renovation.

  40. Kall says:

    Well Kuwait Airways needs a new Fleet? Or do we really need a new Fleet. Well if no new airport no new Fleet.

  41. XV says:

    The answer is very simple: Our parliament and our government.

    They’ve spent so much money on themselves rather spending money on our Country, if it’s continues like this, our country is in serious trouble!
    The government is not doing what Qatar and UAE’s doing. Qatar and UAE are far ahead than us. Kuwait used to have a potential to beat every single GCC, but now the government is keeping the money for themselves!

  42. Vote Mark for Director General DCGA says:

    Do we need a new airport? Tell me about it.

    But before we even get down to it we need to closely introspect and demand a change in staff attitude itself: we need to see airport staff with pleasant manners, smiling faces and courtesy for all. We could use people that are efficient and are genuinely delighted to interact with and assist passengers. An airport staff that is willing and able to reach out to the most destitute of passengers using KWI international and can even make great small talk with passengers in transit- that is what will make an airport stand out, setting apart the great from the good airports of the world. Only then will having a swanky terminal start making any sense. For most long haul transit passengers using KWI International, the airport is the absolute pits. There are NO shower rooms, plentiful clean rest rooms, foot massage parlors or spas, duty free liquor sales or bars. Fix most of that and you are already on your way to becoming a 5 star most preferred international aviation hub.

  43. Vote Mark for Sheriff of Kuwait 2014 says:

    @VMFDDCGA: yes no point harping on quality systems and processes unless there is a quality mind set of hired hands.

    However all is not doom and gloom, Mark.
    Look at how beautifully Mumbai International Airport has made an about face (www.csia.in)

    Whereas it once used to be a truly dreadful airport it is today a beacon of modernity and urban cool. Anything is possible if there is the will and committment to change and adapt with the times.

    http://www.csia.in

  44. zaydoun says:

    A few problems with Kuwait Airport:

    1. No airport in the world is designed with such ridiculously short arrival/departure driveways, resulting in massive pileups as cars unload or pick up passengers with their luggage. And having taxis wait beyond any reasonable distance

    2. The signs outside marking pickup areas are laughably small with even smaller font that you can barely read even standing below them!

    3. If you have the misfortune of your flight being parked away from the terminal and coming in by bus, the arrivals door is a major embarrassment and not even fit for a grocer!

    4. This culture of entire families greeting or sending off travelers has to be eradicated

    5. The mall serves no real purpose for actual travelers

    6. Three security checks before boarding is just stupid

    7. To make things worse, I just saw a sign for a big new mosque to be built just after you drive away from the main terminal. This will add untold complications with cars and parking. A new mosque instead of a new terminal… let that sink in and despair for Kuwait

    So yeah after all the above, we definitely need a new airport. The new Foster-designed airport in Amman is a thing of beauty and could be a model for ours.

    I don’t really care about the immigration staff’s manners if they’re efficient and fast. I’m not there to make friends with them.. I find the questions asked by Heathrow immigration to be intrusive and needlessly time consuming. Beirut airport immigration staff are pathetically S-L-O-W!

    • Mark says:

      Hey if you don’t like Beirut’s immigration process then don’t go to Lebanon. We only want tourists who appreciate our slow but thorough process.

  45. Unknown says:

    I think you are all wrong because I know for sure that people should think about environmental beauty instead of reaching for the skies. If Kuwait plants forests, that will be a revolution because it is and never was attempted because it is impossible for people to work together for the greater good.

    The environmental beauty helps people psychologically. Not to mention to that but also happier and more appreciative for what they have. Most of Arabians think that UAE is great in their so called revolutionary cities where they are wrong due to climate. The more people their are, the more carbon footprint their will be. The more green, the less carbon footprint. I guess that is why their is the current laws. Huge respect to his highness if that is what he plans. If not, than I say he dreams of an industrial, economical power but also dry, hot, sunny and polluted country.

    The less the pollution, the temperature will be lower.

    It reached over 60 Celsius in some areas and Kuwait will not be the only country with that digit.

    You are a fool if you think that only the airport would be the way to go. I’ll agree it is a start but why a new one when you can renovate the current one. I’ve seen the video of their proposition which is laughable. A next gen airport would be making everything to be less pollutant.

  46. Longhorn In Kuwait says:

    If any of the people on here thinking that Kuwait doesn’t need a new airport need to go and get their head checked! If anyone has been to the old Qatar airport and compare it to the new one that you(Mark) should not too long ago, then they would probably change their minds and say yes to the new airport. If they can build this airport then they would desperately need the metro soon after, especially since for some reason the ministry thinks Kuwait can be a tourists destination.

  47. Mohammad B. says:

    “There’s nothing wrong with our airport” SERIOUSLY!??

    It’s funny how some people can make such comments.. For those people I say : you REALLY don’t know what you’re talking about!!

    I have been working at the airport for many years and YES we need a new larger terminal with as many gates as possible.. there are things that happen behind the scenes that passengers don’t know about. Did you know that everyday few airplanes that land in kuwait have no parking spots and need to wait for up to 20min on the apron for a vacant gate or parking spot??? did you know that there is a military base just few hundred meters away from YOUR AIRPLANE?? That’s not dangerous right??

  48. rohit says:

    More people will not visit the country unless visa policy change. The old airport is old and disorganised, we need a new airport


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