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New phase of airport expansion completed, inaugurated

Crown Prince acts as patron at opening ceremony

By Khetam Malkawi - Sep 06,2016 - Last updated at Sep 06,2016

HRH Crown Prince Hussein inaugurates the Queen Alia International Airport’s new terminal project on Monday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — The second phase of Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA) new terminal project was inaugurated on Monday, raising the annual capacity of the airport from 9 to 12 million passengers and the gates from nine to 17.

HRH Crown Prince Hussein opened the terminal during a ceremony at the airport in the presence of partners and senior officials. 

With a value of $214 million, the second phase of QAIA’s new terminal project also increased the airport’s total area to 160,000 square metres, according to Minister of Transport Yahya Kisbi.

In his remarks, Kisbi said the government signed a concession agreement for the rehabilitation, expansion and operation of QAIA in May 2007 with the Airport International Group (AIG), a consortium of regional and international partners comprising investors from Jordan and the governments of Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Greece and Cyprus, in addition to the airport’s operator, Aeroports de Paris Management.  

He added that the project aims at providing a modern airport with state-of-the-art facilities, which in its final phase will include 25 gates, in addition to remote gates, with the capacity to accommodate around 16 million passengers annually. The project, which is a public-private partnership, is carried out under a 25-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) concession agreement that was signed in 2007 and is valid until 2032. 

Implemented at a cost of $850 million, the project’s cost on the Treasury is zero, the minister noted, whether operational or in capital, except for the value of accelerating the investment, as the entire infrastructure was built completely rather than in phases, said Kisbi. He added that the government has received around 54 per cent of QAIA’s gross revenues, which are expected to amount to $100 million in 2016, in addition to another $100 million to be added in special tax on flight tickets. “This share is considered one of the highest among similar international projects,” the minister noted.

According to Kisbi, the first phase of the new terminal project, which was inaugurated by His Majesty King Abdullah in 2013, spanned 110,000 square metres. Eight out of nine installed gates were activated, with the ninth was used as a temporary remote boarding lounge for aircraft parked at a distance from the gates. 

The expansion’s facilities also include two new business lounges, two new duty-free areas and four new prayer rooms, as well as larger monitors, additional charging stations and an upgraded Wi Fi system. 

QAIA can now accommodate large aircraft, including the world’s largest airplane, the double-deck Airbus A380, that is scheduled to land in the airport this month. 

Airport International Group Chairman Faras Ramahi said that after nine years of relentless work, the bold vision adopted by Airport International Group in 2007 has become a reality .

He added that with the completion of the second phase of the new terminal project, all planned construction on the airport has been completed, bringing the airport to its maximum capacity and offering the highest levels of quality standards in order to ensure passenger satisfaction.

Since the opening of the new terminal, QAIA has received several international recognitions by the world-renowned Airports Council International — the only worldwide association of airports based on the feedback of the airport’s global passengers themselves, according to Ramahi.

 

He added that QAIA has leaped from its 2012 international ranking of 186th place to 41st in 2015, in addition to being named “Best Airport” by Region: Middle East’ for the last two consecutive years, an award which is granted based on the votes of global passengers.

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