Loughborough University
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A model for airport strategic planning and master planning in the Arabian Gulf

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posted on 2018-06-14, 08:12 authored by Dheya A. Aziz Towfiqi
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Oman, has undertaken massive construction projects to develop its airports. Such development has taken place over a very short span of time and has involved particularly heavy investments. These projects were, and still are, funded by the governments. The financial return of these projects was not their prime objective, but they were implemented to satisfy the air transport demand and to gain prestige. Some of these projects were a success and some were not, due to a lack of proper and efficient planning and implementation. One could say that this is a natural situation considering the very short time frame in which they were completed after the independence of the GCC in the early 1970s coupled with the good financial situation of these countries. However, this situation will not continue forever; indeed, many of these countries have reviewed their implementation of projects, including airport development plans, positively. Nevertheless, there is a lack of strategic planning practices in many GCC airports, where an airport master plan (AMP) is used in isolation without a strategic plan. Generally, airport projects have not received adequate attention in terms of research on project implementation or strategic planning. Such projects cannot be considered as normal projects, as airports are unique, complicated and demanding due to their complexity, security and safety requirements, international regulations, operations, high cost and high versatility. Therefore, it is essential for any airport to introduce and implement a strategic plan before the enacting development plans to minimise the risk of failure. The competitive environment between the GCC members and the demand for ground and air transportation are factors that led airport management to implement new strategic policies and identify the way forward. This research explains the theory of strategic management and relates it to airports and the airport industry. It also uses Bahrain International Airport as a case study. The case study included the collection of qualitative data through interviews with airport authorities and companies. The collected data were applied to business tools. The new management, the Bahrain Airport Company (BAC), has created a plan for the implementation of a strategic plan, and the research found that strategic planning has been initiated at Bahrain International Airport (BIA) but that there are differences between its implementation and the general strategic planning theories. BIA has very special characteristics and is unique in terms of its patterns of traffic and geographical location. These should be considered to be success factors and must be used to compete with other airports and enable BIA to be one of the leading airports in the provision of effective and quality services.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


© Dheya A. Aziz Towfiqi

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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