Bahrain earmarks $22b for infrastructure development

His Excellency Engineer Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications

MANAMA: The transport and aviation sectors will benefit from the $22billion investments earmarked by the Kingdom of Bahrain on the infrastructure development, according to the Minister of Transportation and Communication.

Bahrain Airport Company (BAC) the managing body and operator of Bahrain International Airport (BIA) hosted the inaugural Routes Middle East & Africa 2015 forum under the patronage of His Excellency Engineer Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications.

Designed to build on the success of Routes Africa 2014 Routes Middle East & Africa brought together over 300 delegates from across Africa and the Middle East to meet and discuss route development opportunities across the region.

His Excellency Engineer Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, was speaking as he opened the Routes Middle East & Africa and said the event came at a crucial time for the aviation industry in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

“We introduced a new civil aviation law and regulations in 2013, we have invested significantly in technology and systems across our operations, and we have just embarked on an ambitious modernisation program for the passenger terminal building at the Bahrain International Airport. This large-scale project is driven by the demand and fast growing economic development that Bahrain has witnessed over the past few years, and is evidence of the commitment we have to developing our aviation industry infrastructure to sustainably serve the needs of the future,” the Minister said.

“The Kingdom is set to invest around $22 billion in key infrastructure projects over the coming years, across a range of sectors including transport, manufacturing, and energy. These factors combined provide a compelling context within which this forum is being held.”

During the three-day event attracted almost 50 airlines and over 70 airports along with tourism authorities and other industry stakeholders from across the region. All the major Middle Eastern carriers were present including Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Gulf Air along with a strong representation from African carriers such as Egyptair, Ethiopian Airlines and South African Airways. In addition several out of region carriers will be in attendance including British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air and Vueling.

“It’s a privilege to be hosting the first edition of Routes MEA in the Kingdom of Bahrain both for BAC and the country as a whole. We are extremely pleased with the turnout from the regional aviation community and we have no doubt of the prospects this forum holds for all attending airports, airlines and industry stakeholders,” Mohamed Yousif Al Binfalah, Chief Executive Officer at Bahrain Airport Company, in his opening remarks said.

“On a national level, hosting of Routes MEA in Bahrain has the potential to fuel business activity in the local tourism and aviation sectors as we seek to attract new airlines to set up roots at BIA. We have a series of one-on-one meetings lined up where we hope to showcase BIA’s strengths as a competitive air Hub in the region and draw in more international carriers to support our route development strategy. Our overriding objective is to boost air access and capacity at BIA, expand our destination portfolio globally, build traffic and subsequently increase revenues.”

“We are delighted for hosting the inaugural Routes Middle East and Africa in Bahrain,” said, Adrian Newton, Group Director Aviation & Technology, UBM EMEA.

“Africa and the Middle East are two of the most dynamic aviation markets in the world and this event will bring the wider aviation community to the Kingdom of Bahrain providing our Hosts with the ideal opportunity to showcase their destination, and reaffirm their status as an aviation hub for the region. The decisions taken at Routes Middle East & Africa will be decisive in shaping the future of aviation in the region for years to come.”

In addition to around 1,000 face-to-face meetings held to discuss air services taking place at the event, Routes Middle East & Africa opened with the hard hitting Strategy Summit, which included a welcome address from H.E. Engineer Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications for the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Taking place over two days, the Summit l provides a valuable insight into aviation across the region through a series of moderator-led panel discussions and presentations. Confirmed speakers from across Africa and the Middle East include; Adel Ali, CEO of Air Arabia; Paul Byrne, CEO of Flynas; Dr. Elijah Chingosho, Secretary General of AFRAA; Richard Bodin, Chief Commercial Officer of Fastjet and Mohamed Khonji, Regional Director, Middle East Office, ICAO.

“There is an exclusive list of aviation experts lined up to shed light on very current topics affecting our industry in general and our region in specific,” Al Binfalah, added. “The discussions taking place during the Strategy Summit are essential in keeping the region’s aviation community informed on industry trends, and have great potential to positively influence aviation progress and advancement in this part of the world, considered to be a central pivot of movement for people and goods,” Al Binfalah, said.

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