Tour the New Kuwait Airways Terminal (T4)

Post by Mark

Over the weekend I got a tour of the soon to open Kuwait Airways Terminal 4. I hadn’t seen that many photos of the terminal and so was really surprised at how beautiful it was. I took a ton of photos so I’ll take you on a quick tour of the airport starting from the entrance all the way into the plane, and then I’ll go the other way, from the plane all the way to the exit. Here are some interesting points first:

– The new terminal is located on the right just before arriving at the main airport. There are signs up now that point to terminal 4 and there is also a new exit that was constructed. Here is the location on [Google Maps]

– The new terminal is only for Kuwait Airways flights.

– In the photos, you’ll notice signs for E-Gates. Yes, it’s happening but I wasn’t able to get any information on it other than the fact they’re going to implement it. I was not given a timeline but it could be very soon which would explain the urgent move to new passports for Kuwaiti citizens and the voiding of old ones.

– The only area I wasn’t allowed to photograph was the business lounge. It’s located on the far right of the departures terminal and spans two floors. It has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the runway, and unlike the Kuwait Airways lounge in terminal 1, it didn’t look tacky.

– The security check area is going to be proper, similar to setups you see in large airports abroad and it will also have full body scanners.

– Terminal 4 will be managed by the South Korean Incheon International Airport. The Incheon airport holds the record of being ranked the Best Airport Worldwide for 11 consecutive years so it’s going to be in good hands.

– The boarding gate for US flights has an extra security check, the rest of the gates don’t.

– The plan is to eventually have US Border Control at the terminal similar to how it is in Abu Dhabi. This would be huge if it happens.

– All the waiting area seats throughout the terminal have both power ports and USB ports.

– The terminal is expected to start operating on July 25th, although I’ve also heard the date August 8th being thrown around. In both cases, the terminal will start operating with a limited number of flights with the first route being just Dubai. They will then continue to add other GCC flights before adding the rest of their destinations.

That’s some of the most important points I wanted to highlight. If you have any questions or things you’re curious about let me know in the comments and I’ll try to answer them for you. To check out pictures of the terminal as well as the full tour from start to finish, click [Here]

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A Film School in Kuwait

Post by Mark

Yesterday after passing by the clays and crafts store Herafy, I happened to see a sign for the “International Academy of Arts”. I was curious to know what it was, so I walked in to find an old cinema projector in the entrance and then the hallways covered with black and white old film photos. So I kept exploring until a guy who works there came up to me and asked if he could help. He ended up giving me a tour of the facility and explained to me what they do.

“International Academy of Arts” is a film school that teaches acting, directing, cinema makeup, editing, sound recording, radio broadcasting and more. They had different rooms for different subjects and they all seemed to be pretty up to date. No idea if the school is any good but if this is something you’re interested in it might be worth checking out. Their website doesn’t seem to be working at the moment but you can check out their instagram @i.a.arts.

Here is their location on [Google Maps]

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Everything You Need to Know on the New Airport Terminal (T2)

Post by Mark

Last week I was given a very detailed presentation on the new terminal that’s under construction as well as a site visit to see the current progress. There was a lot of information presented but for this post, I rounded up what I thought was the most interesting. So here we go:

– The terminal is shaped similarly to other airports around the world for the same reason all cars have 4 wheels, it’s a shape that works really well for airports. But like all cars have 4 wheels, there is still a big difference between a Ferrari and a Kia and this applies to airports as well. Although airports can be shaped similarly, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll all function the same way.

– Eventhough the terminal is huge, you still won’t have to walk much. The distance from the terminal entrance to the center of the terminal is around 150m. The furthest a passenger has to walk once inside is 600m. That’s one of the advantages of the triangular shape of the terminal, less walking distance for the passengers.

– The original plan of the terminal was to open with a capacity of 13 million passengers a year with an ability to expand that up to 25 million if needed. The plans have changed now and the terminal will now be able to handle 25 million passengers from day 1.

– The terminal will have a level of service rating of “A”. Dubai, for example, has a “C”. The level of service is calculated using a variety of things including the distance between passengers in the terminal, facilities, wayfinding etc.. For an airport of this capaciaty, its generally very difficult to get an “A”.

– The terminal has enough gates to handle 21 Airbus A380s (above) but also has the capacity to handle 51 smaller aircraft all at once (below). Thats possible because the majority of the gates can either take one large plane or two smaller ones without having to make any modifications.

– The terminal will have over 5,000 underground parking spots dedicated just for the passengers. Our current airport in comparison has around 1,500 that is also shared with the airport employees.

– Nothing is off the shelf, everything is being custom designed and made for the terminal. There are some things that have never been done before even for Foster + Partners, so its a learning experience for everyone involved in the project.

– Landside is airport lingo for everything before immigration and security, airside is what they call the area after. There will be no mall located in the landside part of the terminal but the airside will have a retail space larger than Trafalgar Square (pictured above).

– There will be 44 immigration desks and 26 security screening machines just for economy travelers. Premium passengers will have their own immigration and security checks in a different area.

– The footing of the building (the foundation base) is 5m deep. I had no idea if this was a lot or not but I was told by architects and engineers that this is crazy deep, usually the footing is around 1m max. The reason for this is the footing has to support all the arches which support the whole roof and structure of the terminal.

– Speaking of arches, there are 800+ arches being used in the building.

– The airport will have a floor for arrivals and another for departures so the two don’t mix. The departure dropoff and the arrival pickup area outside the airport are 500 meters long each and composed of 4 lanes. So they both have 2KM each of temporary parking.

– The rendering above of the expansion of T2 where the terminal is mirrored is just to show that there is room to expand but the final design of the expansion terminal might look completely different.

– Nobody knows what DGCA will do with the current airport once T2 is up and running.

– The terminal is currently 1% behind schedule but the contractor has a catch-up plan in place.

– Contractually the airport is expected to be completed by September 2022. It might finish earlier but September 2022 is whats in the contract. Once the airport is completed it will be handed over to DGCA and it could then take up to a year for the airport to open and function.

I took random pictures at the site as well as screenshots from the powerpoint presentation. If you’d like to see them then click [Here]

Below is a video presentation I found of the airport as well that features a lot of animated renderings.

If anyone has any questions, let me know in the comments below.

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Kuwait Airport Ranked Worst in the World Again

Post by Mark

Business Insider published an article a few days ago on the worst airports in the world and the Kuwait International Airport topped the list again. The data is compiled by the website AirHelp who score airports based on on-time performance, quality of service and passenger sentiment. The best airport in the world on the other hand was Qatar’s Hamad International Airport.

With the new Jazeera Terminal just opening and the new Kuwait Airways terminal opening up soon, this might be the last year Kuwait’s Airport comes out the worst.

Check out the AirHelp scores [Here]
Check out the Business Insider article [Here]

Thanks Musaed

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Official Airport Terminal Numbers

Post by Mark

Last month I posted a list of our terminal numbers that was put together using whatever information was available at that time, and a bit of common sense. But a few days ago, the Civil Aviation Authority released the official list of terminal numbers and the list I put together was pretty much on point.

When I posted my list there was a bit of a disagreement with the Terminal 3 name. I had used it for the Sheikh Saad Terminal but a reader noted that it was most likely reserved for the expansion of Terminal 2. I did a bit of research and turns out that was a possibility since the only time Terminal 3 was ever mentioned online was when they mentioned the Terminal 2 mirror expansion. Well now looks like that’s not the case and Sheikh Saad Terminal is actually going to use the Terminal 3 name.

Check out the official list of terminals below along with the descriptions by the Civil Aviation Authority:

Terminal 1 – Main Terminal
Terminal 2 – New Terminal (Under Construction)
Terminal 3 – Sheikh Saad Terminal (General Aviation)
Terminal 4 – Kuwait Airways Passenger Terminal
Terminal 5 – Jazeera Airways Passenger Terminal

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Ramadan Timings (2018)

Post by Mark

Below are some important Ramadan timings, if you’d like to add anything, leave it in the comments below.

Banks: 10AM to 1:30PM (Airport 9:30PM to 12AM)
Government: 10AM to 3PM (Approx)

Cinescape: 9:30PM
GrandCinemas: 2:00PM
Sky Cinemas: 7:30PM
VOX: 11:25AM

360 Mall: 10AM to 4PM and 8:00PM to 1AM
Al Kout Mall: 10AM to 4PM and 8PM to 1AM
Avenues Mall: 10AM to 4PM and 8PM to 1AM
Gate Mall: 10AM to 4PM and 8PM to 1AM
Marina Mall: 11AM to 4PM and 8:30PM to 1AM
Salhiya: 10:30AM to 2:30PM and 8:30PM to 12:30AM

Carrefour: 10AM to 2AM
LuLu: 9AM to 2AM
Saveco: 24 hours
Sultan Center: 24 hours

IKEA: 11AM to 4PM and 6PM to 12:30AM

Al Shaheed Park: 6AM to 1AM
Al Shaheed Park Museums: 4PM to 6PM and 8:30PM to 12AM (Closed on Sundays)
Abdullah Al-Salem Cultural Centre: 8PM to 12AM (Closed on Sundays)

Illustration by Norah AlJassar

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Carriage Now Saves Knet Information *UPDATED*

Post by Mark

One thing that has always annoyed me with local online shopping services is that you couldn’t save your payment details like you do on Amazon for example. Looks like Knet are finally allowing your payment details to be saved because with the latest Carriage app update, you now have the option to save your payment information. This means when you place an order, all you need to do is enter your pin code instead of having to enter all your numbers and expiry date every time you place an order.

All I can say is finally! This is going to make online shopping in Kuwait a lot more convenient for everyone.

Update: So I got a phone call from Carriage awhile ago on this subject and they clarified to me one important point. Customer data related to bank details are saved on the user’s device, not on Carriage’s servers. The information is encrypted and then stored in your iOS or Android keychain, and you still need to input your pin on every transaction.

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Ramadan in Kuwait

Post by Mark

Ramadan starts tomorrow and for those you who’ve never spent Ramadan in Kuwait, here are some things you need to know:

– If you are caught eating or drinking in public during fasting hours, you can be fined up to KD100 and/or jailed for 1 month.

– Restaurants can’t serve food during fasting hours. That includes dine-in, delivery, and takeaway. But, over the past few years, some restaurants have started operating and serving food during fasting hours but not dine-in. I usually put together a list of these restaurants every year, so stay tuned to one again this year.

– Carriage starts delivery 5PM onwards during Ramadan.

– The law states that during Ramadan, the maximum working hours is 36 a week.

– Shops and malls change their working hours during Ramadan. Everything tends to open later and then stay open a lot later. I’ll be sharing a list of Ramadan timings next week.

– Nothing tends to get done during Ramadan since everything moves at a much slower pace. So you need patience.

I think those are the most important things to note. For more details on the above you can check out these two Ramadan Law posts [Here] and [Here]

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F1 TV Access in Kuwait

Post by Mark

There are a lot of companies or brands I don’t like, and only a very few I really really dislike or hate. To get me to really hate you would take a lot of effort (suing me is one way *cough* Benihana *cough*), and somehow beIN have managed to really piss me off. I’m not going to spend a lot of time dwelling on this but to summarize, I only use them to stream Formula 1 races, and when I’ve run into problems, they had extremely horrible customer service. But, I finally found another way to legally (kinda) watch the F1 races… F1 TV.

Before I continue, yes I am aware there are multiple ways to stream the F1 races illegally. Personally, I always try to go the as legal way possible route, unless I hit a wall and then I resort to piracy.

If you’re a Formula 1 fan and you follow the news, you might be aware that Formula 1 just launched F1 TV. Depending on where you reside, you’ll be able to subscribe to F1 TV and have access to their full archive of races as well as being able to stream their current races live via their website.

F1 TV in Kuwait
Kuwait sadly isn’t one of the countries where F1 TV will work. I think that has to do with the agreement F1 have with beIN but since beIN is so buggy, I had to find a way to get F1 TV working in Kuwait and I managed to do just that. To get F1 TV working in Kuwait you need two things:

– VPN with an American server
– Credit card issued by an American bank

The first is easy to get, there are hundreds of options available online and my guess is that pretty soon you’ll also be able to use smartDNS to access F1 TV like we do to get access to US Netflix and Hulu. The credit card on the other hand is much harder to get. I got mine while vacationing in the States but I think there are ways of getting one online although I haven’t tried them. Once you’ve got these two things you can just subscribe to F1 TV and get access.

What’s F1 TV Like?
There are two F1 TV packages, F1 TV Access, and F1 TV Pro. Access doesn’t allow you to stream the races live but with the Pro package you can. If you pay month by month, Access is $3 a month while Pro is $12. If you sign up for a year then the prices drop down considerably with Pro coming to $8 a month, the same price beIN charge for one day access.

This past race was the first time F1 TV went live and it was super buggy. It was so bad that F1 TV sent out an apology and a refund because they weren’t able to cope with the load this past weekend. But, thats fine, it was their first weekend live and nobody was expecting them to be perfect.

When it did work though the service was spectacular, more than anything beIN could offer or any other channel for the matter.

– During practice, qualifications and the race you get access to the cameras inside every single car. So if you’re a Verstappen fan, you can choose to view the camera in his car, and then watch him race until he crashes into something.

– During practice, qualifications and the race you get access to different audio channels. When watching the main stream you can choose to listen to commentary in different languages, or you can choose not to have any commentary at all and just have car sounds. While watching the race from inside the car of your favorite driver, you get an additional option of being able to listen to the team radio.

– With F1 TV you get access to 68 seasons of races! SIXTY EIGHT seasons of Formula 1 racing, that’s just insane. Last night I was rewatching the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix when half the cars crashed at turn one of the race. I then watched a documentary on one of my favorite drivers of all time, Mika Häkkinen. Even if F1 TV didn’t include the archive, I would have easily forked out $8 a month just to stream the races live. The fact that they’ve included so much content with this $8 is an incredible bonus.

As you can tell, I’m very excited about F1 TV. If you’re an F1 fan and have any questions about the service let me know. There are some negatives right now with F1 TV including the lack of an Apple TV app being one. Currently I’m using the browser on my iPad to watch F1 TV which is annoying, but they only properly launched a few days ago so they’re still super busy working out all the kinks and I’m expecting them to launch an app soon. Things will only keep getting better from this point onwards.

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List of All the New Airport Terminals

Post by Mark

It’s kinda crazy how overnight we basically doubled the number of airport terminals in Kuwait. Since its starting to get a bit complicated with the different namings, I figured I’d share the list below to help clear things up along with pictures.

Terminal 1
This is our current main terminal. It was opened in 1979 and was designed by one of the most significant architects of the 20th century, Kenzō Tange. The British architect and critic Stephen Gardiner wrote in 1985 that it was “the most beautiful airport in the world” because of its “breathtaking simplicity of color and shape.” It is “white sculptured space as cool as an ice-cube, as enormous as a vat intake of pure air, as light as a tent, as canvas hung from cables and sails.” The airport today no longer resembles the original one due to the amount of refurbishment it went through. There are no plans to demolish this airport, but once Terminal 2 opens up I hope someone decides to take it back to its original state. For more pictures of the airport, click [Here]

Terminal 2
This is the new and huge terminal that was designed by the British architecture studio Foster + Partners. It’s currently under construction and is expected to be completed in 2021. This is going to be a world-class terminal that will be able to compete with the likes of Hamad International Airport in Qatar and the Emirates Airline Terminal 3 in Dubai. For more pictures, click [Here]

Terminal 3
The Sheikh Saad terminal originally started off as a private planes terminal but later became the Wataniya Airways terminal. After Wataniya Airways shutdown, FlyDubai took it over. Until recently, flying with FlyDubai was the only way to avoid our horrible main terminal. But, now that the Jazeera Airways and Kuwait Airways terminals are opening up, Sheikh Saad terminal will no longer have an edge.

Terminal 4
This is the new Kuwait Airways terminal and is expected to be operational in June. The new terminal is located near the cargo terminal. Here is the location on [Google Maps]. This terminal will help ease congestion at the main terminal until Terminal 2 opens up in 2021. For more pictures, click [Here]

Terminal 5
Finally, Terminal 5 is the Jazeera Airways terminal I posted about last week. This terminal is now basically complete and will be open at the end of this month. Right now the terminal will cater only to Jazeera Airways flights but there are talks about possibly hosting another airline as well, possibly Emirates. For a complete walkthrough and pictures of this terminal, click [Here]

Future Terminal Expansion
In case needed, there are plans in place that can expand Terminal 2 to double the size. My guess if that happens, either the terminal will still be called Terminal 2, or they might be renamed to Terminal 2a and Terminal 2b. After expansion the terminal will be able to handle 50 million passengers a year. In comparisson, our current main terminal handles 6.8 million a year.

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