Egypt’s Aviation Minister, Ahmed Shafiq, has confirmed that Borg El Arab Airport will become Alexandria’s main gateway to the world in late 2009 when its new $100 million terminal opens for traffic.
Its new status is assured by the fact that Alexandria’s existing gateway, El Nouzha Airport, will be closed and all commercial flights transferred to Borg El Arab by the end of the year.
The move is not without controversy, as Borg El Arab is some 40 kilometres south west of Alexandria, but the Egyptian Government claims that today’s ageing gateway is simply not in a position to meet future demand.
And it is confident that passengers will like what they see when they visit the new state-of-the-art terminal at Borg El Arab Airport, which has been developed under Japanese ODA (Official Development Assistance) with funding provided by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).
Indeed, the project would not have been possible without $55 million in loans from JBIC, which is wholly owned by the Japanese Government.
The contract for the construction of the new terminal was awarded to a joint venture company set up by Orascom Construction Industries and the BESIX Group. Japan Airport Consultants, Netherlands Airport Consultants (NACO) and Engineering Consultants Group (Egypt) were the main designers of the modernisation plans.
The terminal’s boat shaped design is reputedly based on an image of water and sky. It also incorporates elements of Egyptian culture and history as well as its geographical location.
Possibly its most eye-catching feature will be its arc-shaped roof with a curved airside façade that will give short walking distances and plenty of natural lighting.
Spread over three levels and covering a total floor space of nearly 22,000sqm, the new terminal will feature dedicated floors for check-in, arrivals and four gates with double airbridges.
Initially designed to handle 1.2 million passengers per annum, the complex will raise the airport’s overall capacity to more than 4.5mppa, ensuring that is capable of meeting demand for the next decade and beyond.
The facility’s commercial outlets will include a duty free shop, food court, office space for airlines and VIP lounges. Its operational systems include the latest FIDS, CUTE and baggage handling technology.
In addition to the new terminal, Borg El Arab Airport’s upgrade also includes a new 2,000sqm cargo terminal capable of handling 10,000 tonnes of freight yearly.
Other new additions to the airport include a new ATC tower; 800sqm fire rescue station; aircraft fuel depot; water and sewage treatment plants; power station; and 350-vehicle capacity car park in front of the new terminal.
Borg El Arab Airport essentially served as a military airport for Egypt’s north coast until about a decade ago when the Egyptian Holding Company for Airport and Air Navigation (EHCAAN) began using its facilities as an alternative to the aging Alexandria–El-Nouzha Airport.
A total of 22 regional and international carriers currently operate services to Alexandria and growing demand is expected to see this number rise to at least 32 airlines when Borg Al Arab’s new terminal opens and operations are switched to the gateway.
Airport World 2009 - Issue 5