Bahrain International Airport

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Bahrain International Airport

مطار البحرين الدولي

Maṭār al-Baḥrayn al-dwalī
Bahrain International Airport logo.svg
Airport typePublic
OperatorBahrain Airport Company
LocationAl Muharraq
Hub for
Elevation AMSL8 ft / 2.4 m
Coordinates26°16′15″N 50°38′01″E / 26.27083°N 50.63361°E / 26.27083; 50.63361
Bahrain International Airport is located in Bahrain
Bahrain International Airport
Bahrain International Airport
Direction Length Surface
ft m
12L/30R 13,005 3,964 Asphalt
12R/30L 8,301 2,530 Asphalt
Statistics (2019)
Passenger change 18-19Increase 5%
Aircraft movements95,486
Movements change 18-19Decrease 1%
Cargo (MT)291,017
Cargo change 18-19Increase1%
Source: Statistics from Bahrain Airport 2019,[1]

Bahrain International Airport (IATA: BAH, ICAO: OBBI) (Arabic: مطار البحرين الدولي‎, maṭār al-Baḥrayn al-dwalī) is the international airport of Bahrain. Located on Muharraq Island, adjacent to the capital Manama, it serves as the hub for the national carrier Gulf Air. The airport is managed by the Bahrain Airport Company. Established in 1927, it is the Gulf's oldest international airport.[2] The airport is currently undergoing a $1.1 billion expansion that will boost the airport's passenger capacity to 14 million per year by 2020.[3] Gulf Air accounts for 67% of all weekly passenger flights to the airport.[4]



The origins of Bahrain's international airport dates to 1927 when a chartered flight to Bahrain landed.[5] The first scheduled commercial airliner to arrive in Bahrain, in 1932, was a flight from London to Delhi operated on a Handley Page H.P.42 aircraft named Hannibal. The H.P.42 carried only 24 passengers, and the flight from London had taken several days of flying at speeds of 100 miles per hour. Through this regularly scheduled service, Bahrain became established as the Persian Gulf's first international airport.[6]

During World War II, the airport was used by the United States Army Air Forces Air Transport Command Central African Wing, being designated as Station # 13. It functioned as a stopover en route to Abadan Airport, Iran or Sharjah Airport, in present-day UAE on the Karachi-Cairo route.[7] From 1943 until Bahrain's independence in December 1971, the Royal Air Force maintained a military installation at the airfield known initially as RAF Bahrain and from 1963 as RAF Muharraq.[8][9] The majority of these facilities were later acquired by the Bahraini flag carrier airline, Gulf Air, while a small portion continues to be utilized by the U.S. Navy as Aviation Support Unit (ASU) Bahrain.

20th century[edit]

Bahrain International Airport in December 1975

In 1936, the operation of H.P.42 aircraft from London to India via Bahrain had been stepped up to a twice-weekly frequency. In 1937, Bahrain saw the regular service of the Empire sea planes. The landing strip of these giants on the water was from where the marina club is located in Mina Salman today. From the 1950s, BOAC operated several services a week through Bahrain. These included weekly services to Karachi, Singapore, Hong Kong and three times a week to Sydney. 1950 was a significant year not only for Muharraq as an international airport, but also for Bahrain's own commercial aviation history. In this year, a new local airline, Gulf Aviation Company, was formed – the forerunner of Gulf Air. The company started with only one aircraft, a second-hand Anson Mark II, which was used initially on services to Dhahran. However, within two years, the fleet had expanded to four de Havilland aircraft and DC-3s for use on a steadily growing network in the Persian Gulf. This established Bahrain as an international stage. It was easily the most modern and advanced airport in the Persian Gulf with a good runway, control tower, lighting, communication facilities and even restaurants. It began to attract other carriers such as Middle East Airlines, Air India, Air Ceylon and Iran Air – mostly operating Dakotas. In December 1961, a new passenger terminal opened at the airport. During 1970–1971, RAF Muharraq was scaled back and eventually closed. In December 1971, the airport opened new passenger facilities, which included a wide area that could accommodate four 747 aircraft. In 1976, the airport marked another significant first with the inauguration of supersonic flights, which saw the start up of regular BA Concorde service between London and Bahrain.[10]

In the 1980s and 1990s, major facelifts took place and several major airline companies made the airport a destination. In 1994, a US$100 million terminal was inaugurated which boosted the airport's maximum capacity to 10 million passengers a year.[10]

21st century expansion[edit]

Bahrain International Airport's departure terminal, 2014

A BD113m ($300 million) expansion and refurbishment program was launched in the third quarter of 2006 which will see the creation of a new multi-storey car park and retail complex adjacent to the main terminal building. The expansion also includes a full resurfacing of the main runway, a new perimeter fence, state-of-the-art security systems and additional aircraft parking bays. Runway 12R/30L is mostly used as a taxiway.

In 2008, the airport was placed under management of the newly-created Bahrain Airport Company, which falls under the umbrella of the Gulf Air Holding Company, which in turn is owned by Mumtalakat, Bahrain's sovereign wealth fund.[11]

It was announced on October 8, 2009 that BHD 1.8 billion expansion of Bahrain International Airport is going to start in 2010. The expansion, planned over the next 30 years, will triple the passenger capacity to 27 million a year. Work on the airport's expansion officially began in June 2011 and is expected to be completed by 2015. The expanded airport will increase the airport's size by an additional 40,000m², including more than 3,000m² of new retail facilities. It will also create 4 to 5 additional contact gates, 9 remote gates and 40 more check-in counters as well as an enlarged transfer facility amongst several other capacity improvements and value added facilities[12]

In 2009, Bahrain Airport was named as the winner of the Best Airport in the Middle East Award at the Skytrax 2010 World Airport Awards. It has also received many other awards[13] In August 2017, an American F-18 fighter jet crash landed at the airport, with the pilot safely ejecting.[14]

The airport's new $1.1 billion terminal is set to open on 28 January 2021, boosting the airport's capacity to 14 million passengers per year. The terminal will feature 104 check-in counters, 36 passport control booths and 24 security screening points. Additionally, the building includes two hospitality lounges, one run by Gulf Air and the other by the Bahrain Airport Company.[15]

Ground transportation[edit]

The airport is situated in central Muharraq and has strategic transportation connections with the capital city Manama through the Airport Avenue roadway and Shaikh Isa Causeway. Airport Avenue was closed in February 2019 for nine months to facilitate expansion work on the airport's transport routes.[16]

White and orange taxi berths are present at the airport alongside car rental agencies.[17][18] There are at least five bus lines that hail at the airport; the A1 line, A2 line, 10 line, 11 line and 12 line respectively. A single bus fare costs 0.3 BHD ($0.80).[19] There are plans to build light rail lines which would connect the airport to the rest of Bahrain.[20]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Air Arabia Sharjah
Air India Delhi
Air India Express Kannur, Kochi, Kozhikode, Mangalore
AnadoluJet Seasonal: Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen,[21] Trabzon
Azerbaijan Airlines Seasonal: Baku
British Airways London–Heathrow
Buta Airways Baku[22]
EgyptAir Cairo
Emirates Dubai–International
Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa[23]
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
Fly Baghdad Najaf
flydubai Dubai–International
Georgian Airways Seasonal: Tbilisi
Gulf Air Abu Dhabi, Amman–Queen Alia, Athens, Baghdad,[24] Baku,[25] Bangalore, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Beirut, Cairo, Casablanca,[25] Chennai, Colombo–Bandaranaike,[26] Dammam, Delhi, Dhaka,[27] Dubai–International, Faisalabad,[28] Frankfurt, Gassim, Hyderabad, Islamabad, Istanbul, Jeddah, Karachi, Khartoum, Kochi, Kozhikode,[25] Kuwait, Lahore, Larnaca, London–Heathrow, Malé,[29] Manila, Medina, Moscow–Domodedovo, Multan,[28] Mumbai, Muscat, Najaf,[24] Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Peshawar, Riyadh, Sialkot, Tbilisi,[30] Tel Aviv,[31] Thiruvananthapuram
Seasonal: Malaga, Salalah
Iraqi Airways Baghdad, Najaf
Israir Tel Aviv (begins 31 January 2021)[32]
Jazeera Airways Kuwait
KLM Amsterdam, Kuwait
Kuwait Airways Kuwait
Lufthansa Frankfurt
Oman Air Muscat
Pakistan International Airlines Lahore[33]
Pegasus Airlines Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen
Seasonal: Antalya,[34] Trabzon
SalamAir Muscat[35]
Saudia Jeddah, Riyadh
SriLankan Airlines Colombo–Bandaranaike
SunExpress Charter: Antalya,[36] Bursa, Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen, Trabzon[36]
Syrian Air Damascus
Turkish Airlines Istanbul
Ural Airlines Moscow–Domodedovo


Air ACT Istanbul–Atatürk
Cargolux Luxembourg, Mumbai
DHL International Abu Dhabi, Amman-Queen Alia, Amsterdam, Baghdad, Bagram, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Brussels, Cairo, Cincinnati, Dubai–International, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Kandahar, Karachi, Kyiv–Boryspil, Kuwait, Lahore, Leipzig/Halle,[37] Liège, New York–JFK, Sharjah
Emirates SkyCargo Dubai–Al Maktoum,[38] Zaragoza
FedEx ExpressGoa
Lufthansa Cargo Frankfurt
Swiftair Madrid
Turkish Cargo Istanbul–Atatürk, Phnom Penh


Traffic figures[edit]

Traffic by calendar year, official ACI statistics
Passengers Change from previous year Aircraft operations Change from previous year Cargo
(metric tons)
Change from previous year
2005 5,581,503 Increase 8.50% 73,891 Increase 1.88% 334,832 Increase10.91%
2006 6,696,025 Increase19.97% 80,538 Increase 9.00% 357,277 Increase 6.70%
2007 7,320,039 Increase 9.32% 87,417 Increase 8.54% 385,278 Increase 7.84%
2008 8,758,068 Increase19.65% 101,203 Increase17.77% 369,822 Decrease 4.01%
2009 9,053,631 Increase 3.37% 103,727 Increase 2.49% 342,734 Decrease 7.32%
2010 8,898,197 Decrease 1.72% 106,355 Increase 2.53% 329,937 Decrease 3.73%
2011 7,793,527 Decrease12.41% 102,068 Decrease 4.03% 292,147 Decrease11.45%
2012 8,479,266 Increase 8.80% 105,931 Increase 3.78% 262,386 Decrease10.19%
2013 7,371,651 Decrease13.06% 90,837 Decrease 14.25% 245,146 Decrease6.57%
2014 8,102,502 Increase 9.91% 96,193 Increase 5.90% 276,390 Increase12.75%
2015 8,586,645 Increase 5.97% 100,625 Increase 4.61% 256,408 Decrease7.23%
2016 8,766,151 Increase 2.09% 101,345 Increase 0.72% 263,956 Increase2.94%
2017 8,477,331 Decrease 3% 95,966 Decrease 5% 289,331 Increase10%
2018 9,082,707 Increase 7% 96,030 Increase 0% 288,235 Increase0%
2019 9,578,797 Increase 5% 95,486 Decrease 1% 291,017 Increase1%
Source: Airports Council International, World Airport Traffic Reports & Bahrain's Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications (MTT) Annual Reports.
(years 2005,[39] 2006,[40] 2007,[41] 2009,[42] 2011,[43] 2012,[44] 2013,[45] 2014,[46] 2015,[47] 2016,[48] 2017[49] 2018,[50] and 2019[1])

Busiest routes[edit]

Busiest routes at Bahrain International Airport (by number of flights weekly)
Rank City Country Number of flights
1 Dubai  United Arab Emirates 132
2 Kuwait City  Kuwait 83
3 Riyadh  Saudi Arabia 56
4 Abu Dhabi  United Arab Emirates 56
5 Muscat  Oman 53
6 Jeddah  Saudi Arabia 40
7 Dammam  Saudi Arabia 30
8 Istanbul  Turkey 29
9 Sharjah  United Arab Emirates 24
10 London  United Kingdom 21
11 Mumbai  India 21
12 Amman  Jordan 20
13 Cairo  Egypt 19
14 Frankfurt  Germany 14

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "2019 Airport Statistics" (PDF). Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  2. ^ "BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT | Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications". Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications. Archived from the original on 24 June 2019. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  3. ^ "Bahrain Airport Modernization Program | Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications". Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  4. ^ "Gulf Air Group Holding ups stake in Bahrain Airport to 44%". ch-aviation. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  5. ^ "A Pictorial Journey Through Bahrain Airport's History". Routesonline. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  6. ^ Bahrain International Airport :: About Us – History Archived 2008-08-19 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
  7. ^ "USAFHRA document 00181427". 1986-11-13. Retrieved 2018-02-20.
  8. ^ Overseas Stations-M Air of Authority.
  9. ^ "RAF Muharraq". Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Bahrain Airport Company". Bahrain International Airport. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  11. ^ "Bahrain Airport Company". Mumtalakat. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  12. ^ "Traveller Portal – Bahrain International Airport : Home". Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  13. ^ "Skytrax 2010 World Airport Awards – Middle East". Skytrax. 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-04-01.
  14. ^ "US fighter jet crash lands at Bahrain International Airport". Gulf News. 12 August 2017. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  15. ^ "New Bahrain International Airport terminal set for operation in March next year". 8 October 2019. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  16. ^ "Bahrain closes major road for airport expansion work". Trade Arabia. 7 February 2019. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  17. ^ "Bahrain Airport Company - Taxi Rules". Bahrain International Airport. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  18. ^ "Bahrain Airport Transportation". Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  19. ^ "Bahrain Airport Bus". Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  20. ^ "Sekkah Product Review Pro & Shopping Tips". Retrieved 1 June 2015.[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ Liu, Jim. "Turkish Airlines confirms AnadoluJet network transition from late-March 2020". Routesonline. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  22. ^ "Buta Airways launches direct flights to Bahrain". 16 October 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  23. ^ "Ethiopian splits Bahrain / Dammam flights from March 2018". Routesonline. Retrieved 2018-02-20.
  24. ^ a b
  25. ^ a b c "Gulf Air expands S18 network". Routesonline. 26 February 2018. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  26. ^ Staff writer (2016-12-16). "Bahrain's Gulf Air to resume Sri Lanka flights in January – Transport,GCC,Middle East,South Asia,Transport,Transport". Retrieved 2018-02-20.
  27. ^ "Bahrain News Agency | Gulf Air to launch direct flights to Dhaka". 2016-04-25. Retrieved 2018-02-20.
  28. ^ a b "Gulf Air Adds New Routes to Pakistan from mid-Dec 2015". 5 October 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  29. ^ "Gulf Air announces Maldives as it welcomes its 3rd airbus A320neo". Gulf Air. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  30. ^ Gugunishvili, Nino (23 January 2017). "Gulf Air to Start Direct Flights to Tbilisi". Georgia Today on the Web. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  31. ^ "Official: Gulf Air starts Israel flights January 7".
  32. ^ "Official: Israir begins flights to Bahrain on January 31 (Hebrew)". Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  33. ^ Liu, Jim. "Pakistan International to resume Lahore – Bahrain from mid-Sep 2020". Routesonline. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  34. ^ Liu, Jim. "Pegasus expands Antalya network in S20". Routesonline. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  35. ^
  36. ^ a b Ltd. 2019, UBM (UK). "SunExpress adds Bahrain service from Nov 2018". Routesonline. Retrieved Feb 20, 2019.
  37. ^ "2013 summer schedule". Aero Logic. Archived from the original on 8 August 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  38. ^ "Emirates SkyCargo Freighter Operations get ready for DWC move". Emirates SkyCargo. 2 April 2014.
  39. ^ Airport Council International's 2005 World Airport Traffic Report
  40. ^ Airport Council International's 2006 World Airport Traffic Report
  41. ^ Airport Council International's 2007 World Airport Traffic Report
  42. ^ Airport Council International Archived 2016-08-11 at the Wayback Machine's 2009 World Airport Traffic Report
  43. ^ Airport Council International's 2011 World Airport Traffic Report
  44. ^ Airport Council International's 2012 World Airport Traffic Report
  45. ^ Airport Council International's 2013 World Airport Traffic Report
  46. ^ Airport Council International's 2014 World Airport Traffic Report
  47. ^ Bahrain airport statistics Archived 2016-02-16 at the Wayback Machine 2015 Bahrain airport statistics
  48. ^ "Bahrain Airport Statistics" (PDF). Retrieved Feb 20, 2019.
  49. ^ "Bahrain Airport Statistics" (PDF). Retrieved Feb 20, 2019.
  50. ^ "2018 Airport Statistics" (PDF). Civil Aviations Authority. Retrieved 15 March 2020.

External links[edit]

Media related to Bahrain International Airport at Wikimedia Commons