Crown Prince inaugurates second phase of QAIA’s new terminal project
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II on Monday, attended the inauguration of the second phase of Queen Alia International Airport’s (QAIA) New Terminal Project, which has added 12 new gates that will contribute toward raising the airport’s annual passenger capacity to up to 12 million passengers.
Valued at USD 214 million, the second phase of QAIA’s New Terminal Project increases the airport’s total area to 160,000 square-meters, raising its annual passenger capacity by approximately 3 million in comparison to its capacity during the project’s first phase.
Upon his arrival at the site of the inauguration, Crown Prince Hussein was received by the Prime Minister, the Minister of Transport, the Chairman of Airport International Group, the CEO of Airport International Group, the Commander of the Security and Protection Unit, and the Ministry of Transport’s Director of Projects.
During the ceremony, which was attended by a large number of senior civilian and military authorities, Crown Prince Hussein inaugurated the second phase of this national economic project for Jordan’s gateway to the world. At the press of a button, the Prince marked the official launch of operations at the project’s new expansion area.
During his speech before Crown Prince Hussein, Minister of Transport, Yahya Kasabi, stated that the inauguration of the second phase of the rehabilitation, expansion and operation project of QAIA, Jordan’s prime gateway to the world, is further confirmation of the Hashemite leadership’s relentless support of infrastructure development projects across industries, particularly those within the aviation sector. These efforts aim to realize the royal vision of His Majesty King Abdullah II, which encompasses providing the highest levels of service to both the people and guests of Jordan.
He added that, in May 2007, the Government of Jordan (GoJ) signed a concession agreement regarding the rehabilitation, expansion and operation of QAIA with Airport International Group (AIG), a consortium of regional and international partners comprising investors from Jordan, and from the Governments of Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Greece and Cyprus, in addition to the airport’s operator, Aeroports de Paris Management. Kasabi explained that the project aims at providing a modern airport with state-of-the-art facilities, which, in its final phase, includes 25 gates, in addition to remote gates, and accommodates around 16 million passengers per year. The project, which embodies a true public-private partnership, is carried out under a 25-year Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) concession agreement, starting from 15 November 2007 until 15 November 2032. Valued at USD 850 million, the GoJ did not bear any costs, whether operational or in capital, except for the value of accelerating the investment, through which the entire infrastructure was built at once rather than in phases.
The minister also mentioned that the GoJ’s receives around 54 percent of QAIA’s gross revenues, which are expected to amount to USD 100 million this year, to which another USD 100 million are to be added in special tax on flight tickets. "This percentage is considered one of the highest among similar international projects," he said.
Furthermore, Kasabi highlighted that the public-private partnership related to the rehabilitation, expansion and operation of QAIA has been named one of the top 40 public-private partnerships worldwide. He also noted that, after being awarded the same accolade in 2014, the airport was once again awarded first place in the ‘Best Airport by Region: Middle East’ category based on its performance in the 2015 Airports Council International Airport Service Quality Survey, the world’s leading airport passenger satisfaction benchmark program.
According to the minister, the first phase of the New Terminal Project, which was inaugurated by His Majesty King Abdullah II in 2013, spanned 110,000 square-meters. Eight of nine installed gates were activated, with the ninth used as a temporary remote boarding lounge for aircraft parked at a distance from the gates.
QAIA’s second expansion phase boosted the terminal’s total area to approximately 160,000 square-meters, adding eight new gates for a total of 17, H.E. Kasabi said.
Kasabi concluded his remarks by stating that work is currently underway to rehabilitate the airport’s northern runway so that it may be opened to air traffic early next year, enabling the airport to operate at full capacity from both its southern and northern runways. Meanwhile, in coordination with Airport International Group, efforts are being undertaken to develop and upgrade the airport’s baggage sorting system in accordance with international requirements and in light of the region’s prevailing security situation.
During the ceremony, Crown Prince Hussein and those in attendance watched a short film on the airport’s ongoing construction and development, which relayed the successes achieved by QAIA in the regional and international aviation industries.
Among the most prominent features of the project, the total number of gates in operation at QAIA has nearly doubled, increasing to 25 active gates, of which eight are remote gates that contribute to 17 contact gates. The remaining gates are operated from four new Super Fixed Link Bridges, as well as two Fixed Link Bridges, which can accommodate large aircraft, including the world’s largest airplane, the double-deck Airbus A380.
The expansion’s cutting-edge 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. Moreover, 10 travelators, 24 escalators and 18 lifts have been installed in the expansion, allowing passengers to continue to make their way quickly and comfortably across the airport.
In turn, in a speech given during the ceremony, Airport International Group Chairman, Faras Al Ramahi, said, "After witnessing together the first steps of our journey with Queen Alia International Airport, it is evident that, after nine years of relentless work, the bold vision adopted by Airport International Group in 2007, which arose in essence from the royal vision, has today become a reality." According to Al Ramahi, 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, Al Ramahi said.
He added that QAIA has leaped from its 2012 international ranking of 186th place to 41st in 2015, and that it is now one of the world’s top 20 airports serving 5 to 15 million passengers. The airport also marked a historic national accomplishment by 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.
"Our common vision for a robust and thriving local tourism sector, as well as our shared belief in Jordan and QAIA’s potential, allow us to collaborate closely toward the betterment of the airport and the growth of Jordan’s tourism industry, which, consequently, generates a positive impact on the Kingdom’s economy as a whole," said Al Ramahi.
During the inauguration event, Crown Prince Hussein was accompanied by H.E. Prime Minister Hani Mulki and several other officials on a tour of the airport, during which the Prince listened as H.E. Kasabi explained the different development phases undergone at the terminal. Crown Prince Hussein also observed the new gates and other facilities that were added during the expansion project.
QAIA, the expansion of which was carried out in two phases by Airport International Group, is considered one of the most important aviation gateways in the Middle East, acting as a supportive foundation for the various economic and touristic activities carried out within the Kingdom.
Airport International Group is a consortium of international, regional and local companies. Its partnership with the Government of Jordan is considered one of the most successful partnerships between the public and private sectors, and has been named one of the top 40 public-private partnerships worldwide by international economic institutions.