Recent media reports said nearly 30 million passengers went through Dubai airport in the first quarter of the year. This is a massive number of people and, without doubt, Dubai is reaping the economic benefits of such a large influx.
The government of Bahrain is also making efforts to develop and modernise its infrastructure, utilities and projects to improve the level of services and support the national economy with its own airport expansion, the BD380 million first stage of which is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.
The project is considered the largest ever in Bahrain and is scheduled to be completed within budget and plan. While this is commendable, I do hope, there will be other projects that would be implemented in tandem so that this implementation becomes an important and vital transit point for all travellers.
I am not an economist, but, I would want the government to work quickly to ensure optimal investment into this vital facility, which, if done properly, will have to come rapidly.
To be able to compete with other Gulf airports, we must work seriously, take bold decisions to change laws, give privileges that attract international airlines, work with our national carrier, hotels, the tourism and exhibitions authority as well as the immigration and passports department.
We have to develop an ambitious and serious national plan in line with the government’s approach to finding new sources of income other than oil, as envisaged in Bahrain’s 2030 Economic Vision. We also need a successful marketing plan.
We should use foreign expertise when required, but what is needed most is the use of creative and available energies of the youth, who are prepared to do all they can for the benefit of Bahrain. A national committee representing various government and private agencies should be set up and its members given powers to avoid bureaucratic labyrinths.
Unfortunately, in Bahrain, we do not work in the one-family spirit. We lack co-ordination, which is why we lag in implementing projects and creative ideas.
I do not see any harm in replicating the successful experiences of friendly sister countries. What is important here is that we work properly, with a clear vision and plan, to achieve positive results that ultimately lead us to achieving our goals to actively support the economy and build a better life for all.