Kuwait awards $4.8bn airport expansion contract to Kharafi National

Kuwait International Airport's long-pending expansion will begin shortly with the country awarding a $4.8bn (KD1.4bn) contract to local construction firm Kharafi National.


The expansion is expected to increase the airport's capacity from the current seven million passengers to 13 million by 2016. The airport plans to increase its capacity to 25 million passengers by 2025.


Under the contract, the firm will construct a new terminal and runway, in addition to 30 new gates.


Plans for the new terminal were first announced in October 2011, when the department of civil aviation revealed that the aim of the expansion was to increase its passenger and aircraft handling capacity.


In December 2012, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Public Works said that it expected to complete the work on the new terminal by the end of 2016 and that the expansion would cost $3.2bn.


However, the project had to be put on hold after the bidding firms were reported to have quit the project due to difficult contractual terms. A total of 19 companies bid for the current contract.


UK-based architecture firm Foster + Partners had designed the new airport.


Located in Farwaniyah, the airport is Kuwait's only international airport. It shares space with the Al Mubarak Air Base, which houses the headquarters of the Kuwait Air Force and the Kuwait Air Force museum.