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Kuwait to Spend $6 Billion to Double Airport's Capacity

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May 22 (Bloomberg) -- Kuwait’s government will spend $6 billion to almost double the number of passengers its international airport is able to handle by the end of 2016, the head of the country’s aviation regulator said.

Work will begin this year on adding a terminal and renovating infrastructure to raise capacity to 13 million passengers, Kuwait Civil Aviation President Fawaz Abdul-Aziz Al-Farah told reporters in Dubai today. The airport, which is built to handle 7 million travelers a year, received 8.5 million passengers in 2011, and the figure may exceed 9 million this year, he said.

The expansion is part of Kuwait’s $111 billion four-year development plan announced in February 2010 to build a subway and rail network, expand the airport and construct power stations, hospitals, roads and a port for the nation of 3.7 million people. Neighboring Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are building airports and expanding existing ones to accommodate growth in travel.

Kuwait International Airport’s capacity may be expanded to 25 million passengers by 2025 and 50 million people by 2035, Al-Farah said.

The emirate’s main carriers are Jazeera Airways KSC, a low-cost operator, and state-owned Kuwait Airways Corp.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tamara Walid in Dubai via twalid@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net

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