Kuwait's airport construction schemes to spur real estate growth
The billion-dollar Silk City and Jahra Medical City projects signify Kuwait’s appetite for real estate growth, which its aviation schemes could help secure in the future
Last week, extensive details were revealed about the masterplan of Kuwait’s $86bn (KWD26.1bn) Silk City, a 250km2 marine-front development in Subiya.
The multiphase, mixed-use community – which includes the planned 1km-high Mubarak Al-Kabir tower – is expected to position Kuwait as a tourism investment destination as it is developed over a 25-year period.
The billion-dollar Silk City is undoubtedly an ambitious development, but as the last few months have shown the construction community, it is far from being Kuwait’s only long-term commitment to diversified economic growth.
For instance, one of Kuwait’s chief priorities is to expand its hospital capacity by 60% in the years to come. A part of this target has been fulfilled by the $1.2bn (KWD365m) Jahra Medical City, a sprawling healthcare complex on which construction commenced in March 2015, and was fast-tracked to completion in three years. The 72.4ha project was inaugurated by HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah earlier this month.
However, the most prominent segment in the contemporary Kuwaiti economy is its aviation sector, which has seen a flurry of activity since the beginning of 2018. This April, Hussam Al-Roumi, Kuwait’s Minister of Public Works, said the construction of a new terminal at Kuwait International Airport (KWI) was “progressing smoothly”, adding that his team had been “in constant touch” with the project’s contractor to expedite operations. At the time, Al-Roumi also said the terminal would be an “architectural masterpiece” featuring 51 gates to accommodate 26 million passengers each year.
Some elements of the new terminal’s architecture were revealed the following month by Mammoet, which is implementing heavy lifting works for the $4.3bn (KWD1.3bn) airport project. The terminal has a trefoil plan, comprised of three symmetrical wings for departure gates. Each of its façades spans 1.2km, with all of them extending from a 25km central space, the equipment manufacturer revealed this May.
ARCHITECTURE FOCUS: Kuwait's billion-dollar Jahra Medical City
KWI’s expansion is steaming ahead as Kuwait’s Directorate General of the Civil Aviation (DGCA) studies plans to develop a $12bn (KWD3.6bn) integrated aviation hub in the country. DGCA chief Sheikh Salman Sabah Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah said this March that the airport would generate up to 15,000 jobs each year, and have an annual capacity of 25 million passengers upon completion.
Over the years, numerous regional cities and countries have elevated their airports as gateways to tourism, business, and culture in the Middle East. It appears that Kuwait is also on track to capitalise on a similar aviation business model that ensures the success of its colossal real estate programmes, such as Silk City.