Inside Bahrain International Airport's new art-infused passenger terminal

A Gulf Air flight to Delhi was the first commercial aircraft to depart the new terminal which can process up to 14 million passengers a year

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If you're set to travel to or from Bahrain in the future, you'll be flying in or out of the new terminal building at Bahrain International Airport.

Having commenced operations on January 28, the 210-square-metre terminal is set to significantly increase the number of travellers that can be processed in the kingdom on a daily basis.

Four times larger than the old airport terminal, the new building has capacity to handle up to 14 million passengers per year.

It has more than 100 check-in counters, 36 passport control offices, e-gates for departures and arrivals, and eight baggage reclaim belts. It has also been designed with the latest technology to offer travellers an efficient journey through the airport.

Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, operated the first commercial flight from the new Bahrain International Airport terminal. Bound for India's Delhi, the flight left Bahrain just after 2.30pm. The first incoming flight to the new terminal was also a Gulf Air flight, arriving from Lahore, Pakistan.

The airport terminal has two large-scale glass art installations that overlook the central hub of the new terminal building. Designed by British artist Andrew Moor, the 125-square-metre pieces incorporate the work of Bahraini artists Sheikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa and Hussain Al Sunni.

There are four gates for departing passengers. Gulf Air – the national airline of Bahrain – is operating from Gates 1 to 3, while Gate 4 is for all other airlines.

Abu Dhabi's Etihad confirmed that all flights to and from Bahrain by the airline "will move to the new terminal at Bahrain International Airport".

Travellers departing Bahrain can use the sprawling new car-parking facility for long-stay and short-stay visitors, and valet parking is also available.

New airport lounges also await travellers in the new terminal building. This includes the Gulf Air Falcon Gold Lounge and the Pearl Lounge, which has a collection of artworks by Bahraini artists commissioned specially for the airport.

Bahrain Airport Hotel and Spa is also open. Located beside Gate 15 it is part of Gulf Hotels Group, and offers rooms, suites and sleeping pods that can be booked for stays of two hours and upward.

Glass art installations feature in the terminal building. Bahrain Airport Company

The new terminal project cost $1.1 billion and is the largest investment in Bahrain's aviation sector for more than 20 years. It is set to "usher in a new era for air transport in the kingdom," a representative for the airport told The National.

Part of Bahrain's Economic Vision 2030 programme, the new terminal was originally meant to open in early 2020, but this was delayed owing to the global pandemic.

Art, culture and travel

Souq Al Qaisariya offers travellers and transit passengers a taste of Bahraini hospitality. Bahrain Airport Company

For tourists hoping to get a final taste of Bahrain before they fly, or transit passengers looking to find out more about their stopover point, the airport's Souq Al Qaisariya features a traditional Bahraini-inspired market design.

It offers a selection of local products, including jewellery, art, food and beverages.

There's also a museum space called Cultural Heritage Galleries, located in the Departures Area of the terminal building, which celebrates Bahrain's past and present.

A collection of 10 marble sculptures commissioned for Bahrain International Airport are dotted across the concourse. Each is the work of a local sculptor that depicts an aspect of the kingdom's heritage or culture and has been created in partnership with Bahrain's Hend Gallery.