Bahrain International Airport is ramping up its pace in developing its aviation infrastructure. After launching its new terminal early last year, the airport is set to launch a cargo village and a fuel farm to improve its prospects as an airport city.
“One of the challenges facing the airport industry is the integration of airports within the surroundings. And this is where the concept of airport city comes,” Mohamed Yousif Al Binfalah, CEO of Bahrain Airport Co., told Arab News.
He further said that airports must develop their non-aeronautical revenues to become significant enough to mitigate the risks of aeronautical revenues mainly driven by passenger and aircraft movements.
“From an airline infrastructure perspective, we developed a new fuel farm to provide aviation fueling for the airlines. We are also building a cargo village inside the airport,” Al Binfalah said while adding that the new terminal built last year has a capacity of 14 million passengers a year.
Sustainability and climate change
Al Binfalah underlined the factors that should be kept in mind while moving forward, such as integrating airports within their urban surroundings like retail food and beverage, lounges and entertainment, technology focusing on artificial intelligence and mobility solutions and sustainability and climate change.
“The aviation sector has no option but to respond to sustainability and climate change factors. Airlines, as well as airports, are responding proactively to this challenge. Airports have voluntarily set targets to achieve net zero by the year 2050,” he said.
“In Bahrain, we have a target to achieve net-zero on a national level by 2060. We also have Airport Carbon Accreditation, which has allowed us to go through a structured approach to reduce our carbon footprint.”
On the road to recovery
Speaking about the aviation business, Al Binfalah said: “The sector is on the right track for full recovery, but there are a few challenges. One of them is the harmonization of protocols.
“While most of the restrictions have been lifted across the world, I think there is a unique opportunity for the air transport community to learn from the lessons that we have experienced throughout the pandemic and try to develop harmonized plans and protocols to respond to the next crisis.”
Al Binfalah expressed optimism over the outlook this year while stating that the traffic levels in Bahrain will achieve 60 percent of the 2019 traffic levels.