Kuwait International Airport, also known by the airport code KWI, is located in the town of Farwaniyah, Kuwait, but serves Kuwait City and the surrounding area. Activity at the airport continues to grow with increases in passenger traffic and aircraft movements every year.
The most recent renovations at Kuwait International Airport increased terminal capacity and amenities in the year 2000. The design of the airport has a stated capacity of about 7 million passengers per year but is currently seeing about 8.5 million people moving through the gates every year. This translates to about 750,000 people per month or 25,000 people each day. International arrivals must pass through Kuwait Customs, which operates from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday through Wednesday with reduced hours on Thursdays. The customs service at Kuwait International Airport is closed on Fridays.
The terminal, sometimes known as Terminal 1 but officially as Sheikh Saad Terminal, includes about 40 check-in counters serving four gates. Future plans include a new terminal building built in phases. The first phase increases capacity to about 13 million people per year while the final project has a stated capacity of about 25 million passengers. The new terminal space will connect to the existing terminal through an underground tunnel.
Kuwait International Airport currently offers more than 2,500 total parking spaces. The premium parking area, conveniently located next to the terminals, includes about 700 spaces. A parking garage provides sheltered parking areas for short-term parking. Future plans also include upgrades and expansions to the parking facilities.
The airport also provides service to the military and general aviation. Kuwait Air Force operations occur at the Al Mubarak Air Base. General aviation, including private corporate aircraft, sport flyers and charter services, operate from a separate terminal located near the main passenger terminal.
Visitors to the airport with time can also take in the Kuwait Air Force Museum located on the airport grounds.
All three types of aviation utilize two parallel runways both approximately 11,200 meters or 3,400 feet long. The runways are both lit and include instrument landing systems. The airport operates around the clock but does have noise restrictions in place from 6:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. each day. The runways are large enough to accommodate all sized aircraft. Future plans include extending both runways to accommodate aircraft such as the Airbus 380. When complete, the longest runway would be among the 10 longest in the world.
Airfreight operations at Kuwait International Airport operate from a single cargo terminal. This facility has four positions for the loading or unloading of Boeing 747 sized aircraft. Ground facilities include secured storage, special equipment, and storage for radioactive materials and refrigerated and frozen warehousing. The airport handles about 200,000 tons of freight each year from destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The cargo terminal is also slated for an upgrade under current plans for the airport.
The total upgrade project for terminal, runways, and cargo facilities totals about $6 billion with a 2025 completion anticipated. The upgrades also include plans to improve air traffic control systems and baggage handling infrastructure. Financing of the project is being arranged with foreign investments and option.