Bahrain eyes 8.7m passengers by 2015-end
ATP- Arab tourism portal- MANAMA, Bahrain International Airport (BIA) had registered a 10 percent growth in its passenger traffic last year and is now aiming to welcome about 8.7 million passengers by the end of 2015, said a top official."By 2034,
The Middle East is expected to accommodate over 380 million passengers on an annual basis; these forecasts represent tremendous opportunities for the regional aviation industry and we anticipate a 5 to 7 percent annual growth rate at BIA in the coming five years," stated Mohamed Yousif Al Binfalah, the chief executive of Bahrain Airport Company (BAC), the operator and managing body of the kingdom’s airport.
The passenger numbers globally are expected to reach over seven billion by 2034, more than double the 3-plus billion passengers expected to travel this year, said Al Binfalah, citing IATA forecasts.
This represents approximately four per cent annual growth in demand for air connectivity in the next 20 years or so, he stated."Last year was a remarkable year for BIA which saw over eight million people passing through the kingdom’s airport.
As per the updated forecasts we anticipate 8.7 million passengers to travel through BIA by the end of 2015 which signifies an eight percent growth.
We see this positive trend continuing well through 2016," he added.He said the BAC had developed a solid long-term strategy that aims to consistently grow the airport’s capacity, connectivity and network to complement Bahrain’s progress as a tourist, business and aviation hub, in line with the Economic Vision 2030"On an operational level, we will continue to invest in our infrastructure, facilities and services to sustain BIA’s reputation for superior customer service, speed and operational efficiency, which are BIA’s key differentiators vis-a-vis its regional counterparts," noted Al Binfalah.
On a commercial front, BAC’s traffic development plans for 2015 – 2016 are three-pronged, he said."We will continue to focus on new, un-served markets and tap into countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Malaysia, Indonesia and China, which are not currently being served by BIA, and which hold great potential for high-growth yields; we are also looking to increase frequencies to under-served markets such as India, Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka where we see demand soaring; and we will persist with customer retention initiatives to keep our clients happy and explore opportunities to grow business collaboratively," he added.Al Binfalah said the company was already in direct talks with both Gulf Air and other international carriers looking at possible co-operation.
"Our efforts and resource at BAC are also being directed towards the success of the Airport Modernization Program. By 2019, the new modern, state-of-the-art passenger terminal building will increase BIA’s capacity by over 50 percent, expand its services and commercial offering and optimize its operational efficiency.
"The new terminal will be four times the size of the existing terminal and able to accommodate 14 million passengers a year," he added.