Kuwait International Airport

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Kuwait International Airport

مطار الكويت الدولي
Kuwait airport.png
Airport typePublic / Military
OperatorDirectorate General of Civil Aviation
ServesKuwait City, Kuwait
LocationFarwaniya Governorate, Kuwait
Hub for
Elevation AMSL206 ft / 63 m
Coordinates29°13′36″N 047°58′48″E / 29.22667°N 47.98000°E / 29.22667; 47.98000Coordinates: 29°13′36″N 047°58′48″E / 29.22667°N 47.98000°E / 29.22667; 47.98000
KWI is located in Kuwait
Location of airport in Kuwait
Direction Length Surface
m ft
15R/33L 3,400 11,155 Concrete
15L/33R 3,500 11,483 Asphalt
Statistics (2017)

Kuwait International Airport (Arabic: مطار الكويت الدولي‎, IATA: KWI, ICAO: OKBK) is an international airport located in Farwaniya, Kuwait, 15.5 kilometers (9.6 mi) south of Kuwait City, spread over an area of 37.7 square kilometres (14.6 sq mi). It serves as the primary hub for Kuwait Airways and Jazeera Airways.

A portion of the airport complex is designated as Abdullah Al-Mubarak Air Base, which contains the headquarters of the Kuwait Air Force, as well as the Kuwait Air Force Museum.[3]


The airport was first launched in the period of 1927–1928.[4] It was originally envisioned as a stop for British planes on their way to British India. The current main airport structure, designed by Kenzo Tange and opened in 1979, was executed and completed by Al Hani Construction in a joint venture with Ballast Nedam of The Netherlands.

The airport underwent a large renovation and expansion project from 1999–2001, in which the former parking lot was cleared and a terminal expansion was built. This incorporated new check-in areas, a new entrance to the airport, the construction of a multi-story parking structure and an airport mall.

Kuwait International Airport can currently handle more than nine million passengers a year. A new general aviation terminal was completed in 2008 under a BOT scheme and is operated by Royal Aviation. By the end of 2008, however, this airport was modified with the construction of a small building named the Sheikh Saad General Aviation Terminal, to handle the scheduled services of Wataniya Airways along with general aviation traffic.

In 2011, the Department of Civil Aviation announced the intention of extending Kuwait International Airport so it can handle more passengers and more aircraft. On October 3, 2011, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation announced that a new Foster + Partners-designed terminal will begin construction in 2012 and will increase the annual passenger handling amount to 13 million passengers in its first phase with the option of expanding to 25 million passengers. The airport finalized formalities for the construction of the terminal, which was due to begin construction in 2012 with completion by 2016. It would be built to the south of the current terminal complex with new access routes from the Seventh Ring Road to the south of the airport compound. It is designed as a three-pointed star, with each point extending 600 meters from the star's center. Two airside hotels will form part of the new building.

In December 2012, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Public Works announced that the new Terminal at the Kuwait International Airport would be completed by the end of 2016, estimating the cost to be around 900 million Kuwaiti Dinar ($3.2 billion). On May 20, 2013, the Director of Operations Management in the General Administration of Civil Aviation, Essam Al-Zamil, announced that some of the flights will be diverted to the Sheikh Saad Terminal instead of Kuwait Airport's main terminal starting in July due to the large number of passengers and the growing number of aircraft attributing to Kuwait Airport being over capacity. As of June 2014, the leading consortium to build the terminal had quit the project due to several reasons with construction having not started, placing the project on hold.[5] The project was subsequently re-tendered twice over the course of 2014 and 2015 but had the winning tender cancelled both times.

On May 9, 2017, the Foster + Partners-designed Terminal 2 formally broke ground and heavy construction work began on site. The terminal is being built by Turkey's Limak Holding and was originally scheduled for completion in 6.5 years, although the contractors and Kuwaiti government have made claims to deliver the project within four years.

On May 22, 2018, Jazeera Airways will launch its own dedicated terminal at Kuwait International Airport, to be called Terminal 5. It is located directly adjacent to and connected to the existing main building, but features dedicated arrival/departure areas, customs and all supporting functions in order to alleviate congestion at the main building. All Jazeera arrivals will arrive at the new terminal from opening, while departing flights will transition from the current terminal between May 22 and May 27. By May 27, all departing and arriving Jazeera flights will be handled exclusively at Terminal 5.[6]


The airport is home to the Al Mubarak Air Base which is used by the Kuwait Air Force and has been used by Italian Air Force Boeing KC-767A's since October 2014 for the fight against ISIL.[7]


The airport resides at an elevation of 204 feet (62 m) above mean sea level. It has two runways: 15R/33L with a concrete surface measuring 3,400 m × 46 m (11,155 ft × 151 ft) and 15L/33R with an asphalt surface measuring 3,500 m × 46 m (11,483 ft × 151 ft).[1]


Kuwait International Airport will have five operational, numbered terminals by 2022.

Terminal 1[edit]

Terminal 1 is the primary building at Kuwait International Airport and houses all arriving and departing flights other than those operated by Jazeera Airways , Kuwait Airways, Aegean Airlines and flydubai, which operate out of the other terminals. It has 16 gates.

The terminal houses restaurants, duty-free shops, security checkpoints and four lounges.

Terminal 2[edit]

Terminal 2, designed by Foster and Partners, is currently under construction and will expand overall capacity at the airport by thirteen million passengers a year through the introduction of a triangular building with 28 gates, 4,500 additional parking spaces and a 400-bed airside hotel. It began construction in May 2017 and is due for completion in 2022.

Terminal 3[edit]

Originally named the Sheikh Saad General Aviation Terminal and conceived for use by private aircraft, Terminal 3 is a small building currently used exclusively by Aegean Airlines and flydubai.

Terminal 4[edit]

Inaugurated on the 8th of August 2018, Terminal 4 will be used by all flights operated by Kuwait's national carrier, Kuwait Airways. The building was designed by the Spanish branch of the American company AECOM and built by a joint venture Cengiz Insaat & First Kuwaiti Contractor. It is housed in a dedicated building neighboring the cargo-handling facilities on the airport compound and built over an area of 55,000 square meters. It offers five bus gates and nine boarding bridges gates, with a capacity of 8 planes at the same time. Terminal 4 can handle 4.5 million passengers annually and will ease congestion at Terminal 1. There will be 2,450 additional car parking spaces in a dedicated surface lot adjacent to the terminal and connected to the building by a bridge.

Terminal 5[edit]

Inaugurated in May 2018, Terminal 5 is exclusively used by Kuwait-based budget airline Jazeera Airways. Attached to Terminal 1 but with dedicated entrance/exit points, it also includes check-in zones, security checkpoints, lounges, shops, three departure gates, customs and arrival belts. It additionally offers 350 parking spaces in a multi-story facility attached to Terminal 5 by a bridge.

Airlines and destinations[edit]


The following airlines offer scheduled passenger service:[8]

Aegean Airlines Seasonal: Athens
Air Arabia Sharjah
Air Arabia Egypt Alexandria-Borg el Arab, Assiut, Luxor (begins 10 December 2018),[9] Sohag
Air Cairo Alexandria-Borg el Arab, Assiut, Sohag
Air India Ahmedabad, Chennai, Hyderabad, Goa
Air India Express Kochi, Kozhikode, Mangalore
AlMasria Universal Airlines Cairo
AtlasGlobal Istanbul–Atatürk
Azerbaijan Airlines Baku (begins 22 December 2018)[10]
Biman Bangladesh Airlines Dhaka
British Airways London–Heathrow
Bulgaria Air Seasonal: Burgas
Cham Wings Airlines Damascus, Latakia, Qamishli
EgyptAir Alexandria-Borg el Arab, Cairo
EgyptAir Express Luxor, Sharm El Sheikh
Emirates Dubai–International
Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
flydubai Dubai–International
FlyEgypt Alexandria-Borg el Arab, Assiut, Sohag
Flynas Jeddah, Medina, Riyadh, Taif
Gulf Air Bahrain
IndiGo Ahmedabad,[11] Chennai,[12] Kochi[11]
Iran Air Ahwaz, Isfahan, Lar, Mashhad, Shiraz
Iran Aseman Airlines Abadan, Ahwaz
Iraqi Airways Baghdad,[13] Najaf
Jazeera Airways Ahmedabad, Alexandria-Borg el Arab, Amman–Queen Alia, Assiut, Bahrain, Baku, Beirut, Cairo, Delhi (begins 15 December 2018),[14] Doha, Dubai–International, Hyderabad, Istanbul-Atatürk, Jeddah, Kochi, Lahore, Luxor, Mashhad, Mumbai, Najaf, Riyadh, Sohag
Seasonal: Sharm El Sheikh, Ta'if
Jet Airways Mumbai
KLM Amsterdam, Bahrain
Kuwait Airways Abu Dhabi, Ahmedabad, Amman-Queen Alia, Bahrain, Bengaluru,[15] Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Beirut, Bucharest, Cairo, Chennai, Colombo, Dammam, Delhi, Dhaka, Doha, Dubai–International, Frankfurt, Geneva, Islamabad, Istanbul–Atatürk, Jeddah, Kochi, Lahore, London–Heathrow, Manila, Mashhad, Medina, Milan–Malpensa,[16] Mumbai, Muscat, Najaf, New York–JFK, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Riyadh, Rome-Fiumicino, Ta'if, Tehran–Imam Khomeini, Thiruvananthapuram
Seasonal: Málaga,[17] Munich, Sharm El Sheikh, Tbilisi,[18] Trabzon,[18] Vienna
Lufthansa Dammam, Frankfurt
Mahan Air Mashhad
Middle East Airlines Beirut
Nile Air Alexandria-Borg el Arab, Cairo
Oman Air Muscat
Pegasus Airlines Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen
Qatar Airways Doha
Royal Jordanian Amman–Queen Alia
Saudia Jeddah, Medina, Riyadh
Sky KG Airlines Bishkek, Doha, Karachi, Lahore[19]
Syrian Air Damascus, Latakia
SriLankan Airlines Colombo
Turkish Airlines Istanbul–Atatürk (ends 31 December 2018), Istanbul–Havalimanı (begins 1 January 2019), Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen
Seasonal: Antalya, Bodrum, Izmir, Trabzon
  • ^a Kuwait Airways' flight to New York-JFK makes a technical stop in Shannon for security checks. The return flight is operated direct from New York-JFK.


Inside the airport
Cargolux Hanoi, Hong Kong, Luxembourg
Cargolux Italia Hong Kong, Luxembourg
DHL Aviation Bahrain
Ethiopian Airlines Cargo Addis Ababa
Lufthansa Cargo Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Sharjah
Turkish Airlines Cargo Dhaka, Dubai-Al Maktoum, Istanbul-Atatürk
Qatar Airways Cargo Doha


Departures area

2008 through 2017[20]

Year Commercial Aircraft Non-Commercial Aircraft Passengers Freight (in metric tonnes)
2013 78,135 6,796 9,376,618 176,261
2014 85,113 6,879 10,275,804 188,818
2015 95,027 7,133 11,163,279 186,039
2016 98,073 6,098 11,762,241 195,515
2017 106,356 5,285 13,735,580 241,663
up to April 2018 35,146 1,686 4,784,320 62,414

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 25 August 1973, Douglas DC-6 belonging to Yemen Airlines was hijacked during a flight from Taiz to Asmara. After making a refueling stop in Djibouti, the aircraft was taken to Kuwait where the single hijacker surrendered.[21]
  • On 17 December 1973, a terrorist attack on Rome's Fiumicino Airport ended with the hijacking of a Lufthansa Boeing 737-100 that was preparing to depart to Munich. The aircraft was taken to Kuwait where the hijackers surrendered one day later.[22]
  • On 5 June 1977, Middle East Airlines Boeing 707 was hijacked during a flight from Beirut to Baghdad. The ordeal ended in Kuwait when the aircraft was stormed and the single hijacker was arrested.[23]
  • On 24 July 1980, two hijackers demanding money surrendered after hijacking a Kuwait Airways Boeing 737-200 during a flight from Beirut.[24]
  • On 2 August 1990, British Airways Flight 149 carrying 349 passengers landed at Kuwait International Airport just four hours after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, leading to the capture of the passengers and crew. The Boeing 747-100 aircraft was looted by the Iraqis and destroyed. All passengers and crew were reported safe. A McDonnell Douglas DC-9 belonging to the Kuwait Air Force was also destroyed in the airport. It is believed that during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait many of the planes belonging to Kuwait Airways were stolen from the airport and stored in different locations in Iraq, some of which were later destroyed by allied bombings in 1991.
  • On 25 February 1991, USMC McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II crash-landed after being hit by ground fire during the Kuwait Liberation War.[25]
  • On 27 February 1991, the airport played host to a large tank battle between U.S. and Iraqi forces during the 1st Gulf War. It is known today as the Battle of Kuwait International Airport.[26]
  • On 10 December 1999, three US military personnel died when a USAF Lockheed C-130 Hercules made a hard emergency landing at Kuwait International Airport after sustaining damage from landing short of the runway at nearby Jaber al-Ahmad Airbase.[27]
  • On 12 March 2007, a Lebanese-registered Saab 340A corporate aircraft owned by First Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting was badly damaged when it struck vehicles while taxiing.[28]
  • On 6 January 2014, disgruntled passengers on board a Turkish Airlines aircraft attacked cabin crew and opened aircraft door to prevent the aircraft from returning to Istanbul after it was diverted to Kuwait due to bad weather at original destination Basra.[29]
  • On 28 January 2014, a FlyNAS aircraft wrongly entered a construction area while taxiing which led to leaving paved surface and getting stuck in sand.[30]
  • On 12 June 2017, a Kuwait Airways Airbus A320 aircraft was minorly damaged when the tow bar broke while it was being pushed back causing the tow tractor to get stuck under the aircraft.[31]
  • On 27 August 2017, a Jazeera Airways Airbus A320 aircraft on approach at the end of a flight from Riyadh hit a tethered military blimp in a restricted area north of the airport, causing apparent damage to one of the engines..[32]


  1. ^ a b Airport information for OKBK from DAFIF (effective October 2006)
  2. ^ Airport information for KWI at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective October 2006).
  3. ^ "From nothing to something – Cargo City takes shape". Af.mil. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  4. ^ "History". Kuwait International Airport. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
  5. ^ "Firms quit Kuwait airport project; second terminal put on hold". Zawya. 15 June 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Jazeera Airways Announces Start of Flights From New Dedicated Terminal on May 22". Albawaba. 21 May 2018. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  7. ^ AirForces Monthly. Stamford, Lincolnshire, England: Key Publishing Ltd. July 2016. p. 8.
  8. ^ "Flights Timetable | Travellers - Kuwait International Airport". Schedules Section, Air Transport Department, DGCA. 2016-04-20.
  9. ^ "Air Arabia Egypt increases Kuwait flights from Dec 2018". Routesonline. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  10. ^ Liu, Jim (7 December 2018). "Azerbaijan Airlines plans Kuwait launch in late-Dec 2018". Routesonline. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  11. ^ a b "IndiGo New Flights". goindigo.in. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  12. ^ "IndiGo New Flights". goindigo.in. Retrieved 2018-08-17.
  13. ^ https://www.traveltradeweekly.travel/2015-10-06-15-40-04/air-news/item/4594-iraqi-airways-adds-baghdad-kuwait-city-service
  14. ^ "Jazeera adds Delhi service from Dec 2018". Routesonline. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  15. ^ "Kuwait Airways resumes Bangalore service from Aug 2018". Routesonline. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  16. ^ "Kuwait Airways adds Milan service from late-Oct 2018". Routesonline. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  17. ^ "Kuwait Airways resumes Malaga service in S18". Routesonline. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  18. ^ a b "Kuwait Airways adds new destinations in S18". Routesonline. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  19. ^ "Kyrgyzstan Sky KG Airlines outlines preliminary routing in W18". Routesonline. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  20. ^ "Kuwait International Airport Statistics". Statistics Section, Air Transport Department, DGCA. 2018-02-22. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  21. ^ Hijacking description, Aviation Safety Network.
  22. ^ [1], Aviation Safety Network.
  23. ^ [2], Aviation Safety Network.
  24. ^ [3], Aviation Safety Network.
  25. ^ [4], Aviation Safety Network.
  26. ^ M60 vs T-62 Cold War Combatants 1956-92 Nordeen&Isby P.73
  27. ^ "Star Air Aviation (Pvt) Ltd". Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  28. ^ [5], Aviation Safety Network.
  29. ^ [6], Aviation Safety Network.
  30. ^ [7], Aviation Safety Network.
  31. ^ [8], Aviation Safety Network.
  32. ^ [9], Aviation Safety Network.

External links[edit]

Media related to Kuwait International Airport at Wikimedia Commons