Bahrain International Airport has announced that its new passenger terminal has commenced operations.

The facility has been extended with an investment of $1bn from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

Assisting the project on behalf of the UAE, the fund extended around $3bn to Bahrain in 2013 under the GCC Development Programme.

Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications and BAC chairman Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed was quoted by Bahrain News Agency as saying: “I would like to thank our strategic partners, contractors, all companies working in Bahrain International Airport, and all parties involved for their strong support for this national project.

“We are very grateful for their assistance and contributions throughout, which were vital to the smooth and successful launch of the airport’s new infrastructure. Their contributions helped to ensure the project’s on schedule and on budget completion, without disrupting operations at the legacy airport, which has served the kingdom efficiently for decades.”

He also said that the terminal project was introduced in February 2016 as one of the most significant national projects in the kingdom’s history, and currently the largest investment in Bahrain’s aviation sector.

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Moreover, the national airline of Bahrain, Gulf Air, operated the very first commercial flight to Delhi in India from the new terminal.

The first arriving flight to the new terminal was also a Gulf Air flight that arrived from Lahore, Pakistan.

The development project also covers two receptions, hospitality lounges for first and business class passengers, car parking for 5,500 automobiles, a building dedicated to private aviation, an extended Duty-Free area, and a hotel.

BAC CEO Mohamed Yousif Al Binfalah commented: “This milestone is the culmination of years of careful planning and hard work. It marks the start of an exciting new chapter in the kingdom’s rich aviation history and positions BIA as the most modern boutique airport in the region.”

He also emphasised that the new facility will support the growth of travel and tourism in the country while also reviving trade.

The expansion project was finished in around four years.

The new terminal, which is four times the size of the old one, will allow the airport to handle nearly 14 million passengers annually.