As KIA grows, maintaining its infrastructure becomes an ever more important and complex challenge. Fortunately, ongoing technology improvements are matching the growth, ensuring Kuwait's primary gateway is well placed to meet demand.
The DGCA, constantly looking to the future, has embarked on a thorough upgrade of the airport's terminal infrastructure, a rolling programme of improvements that is already visible in the revitalised departures hall and at aircraft gates. The departures area is now split into four distinct, Lshaped check-in zones, each accessed via a security gate. Only passengers and authorised personnel are permitted to enter the check-in zones – designated 1 through 4 ensuring security and cutting out crowding. Zones 1 and 4 feature 32 check-in desks each plus an oversize baggage counter while Zones 2 and 3 each have 18 check-in desks, again with a dedicated space for oversize baggage. The arrangement ensures queuing is kept to a minimum.
All KIA's check-in positions are equipped with the CUTE (Common Use Terminal Equipment) system, installed and maintained by SITA, to ensure maximum flexibility for the handling agents Kuwait Airways and National Aviation Services and their airline customers. Over four million passengers and around eight million bags are handled annually at KIA and the installation of a new fully automated baggage system has helped boost luggage handling standards to new levels. The sortation area for outbound luggage is now completely new and the system installed can process up to 4,200 bags per hour, fed from the four check-in zones. New transfer lines have been installed and now run in tunnels located on the exterior of the building.
Also incorporated is a sophisticated baggage reconciliation system, developed by SITA, that tracks bags in realtime from the check-in desk to the aircraft hold, ensuring no luggage is loaded without the matching passenger being on board. It also tracks the bags in transit via other airports and on to the passenger’s final destination.
Oversized baggage - a constant headache for any airport - is far easier to handle as a result of the dedicated desks in the new check-in zones.The ground handling agents are responsible for management of their own outbound baggage equipment with the DGCA responsible for all inbound sortation systems. At the terminal contact gates all the air bridges have been replaced, with new units supplied by TEAM of Spain.
The new bridges are fully automatic and offer the flexibility to handle a diverse range of aircraft types. Underscoring the DGCA’s commitment to new technology, 10 gates, five remote stands and six cargo stands now feature a new ‘safe gate’ system – an advanced visual guidance system that enables pilots to park their aircraft on the stand with pinpoint accuracy.
Of course, such investment in the latest equipment would not be effective without highly skilled personnel keeping the systems operating at peak performance in the most arduous weather conditions. The DGCA has a team of around 160 technicians, all of whom have undergone extensive training and are capable of maintaining the new technology to its full potential.