Kuwait International Airport (KWI) inaugurated a dedicated terminal for Kuwaiti hybrid carrier Jazeera Airways May 15, in what is described as the Middle East’s first airport terminal to be owned, built and operated by a private company.

The terminal is set to begin commercial operations May 22.

The new terminal is designed to allow Jazeera passengers to avoid the increasingly crowded main terminal and the airline said its opening marks a significant step in the development and privatization of the region’s aviation system.

Built in 11 months, the new terminal was inaugurated by Kuwait’s prime minister Jaber Mubarak Al Hamad Al Sabah.

“Today is a historic turning point in the development of the Middle East aviation system and a testament to the value that the private sector brings to the development of the country,” Jazeera Airways’ chairman and founder Marwan Boodai said, adding KWI's main terminal will “show immediate signs of relief” after the dedicated terminal is opened. “We are confident that our travelers will love flying through the Jazeera terminal.”

The new terminal has four gates, 12 check-in counters (plus two in the building’s 350-car parking annex and one fast-track counter) and an annual capacity of 2.5 million passengers. It will be able to process 1,200 items of baggage an hour. The building will have its own single security check area for departing passengers.

Alan Dron alandron@adepteditorial.com