WE witnessed miseries of the (non) international airport of Kuwait in the recently concluded national day celebrations. Passenger and planes were delayed for more than four hours, in addition to break down of the luggage conveyor belt, among other annual miseries which recur every public holiday or occasion.
We were stunned by the ‘unanimous’ statement from the current aviation authority management, as if this airport’s disarray is happening for the first time; without taking into consideration that it has become a normal occurrence which we bitterly endure in every celebration, holiday and occasion.
Both the citizens and expatriates leave the burden behind and exit Kuwait which has been transformed into a fort with high walls, overwhelmed with deterrents and prohibitions by some politicians and fanatic pressure groups while the government issues certain decisions to please such groups.
If citizens and expatriates travel out of the country whenever they get the opportunity due to the scorching summer heat, what is the excuse for hundreds of thousands leaving Kuwait at a time we are enjoying beautiful weather conditions, let alone during the national day celebrations?
I was amazed and happy last week when I saw a small airport and its parking area which was constructed calmly and silently by a private company – Jazeera – near the VIP lounge.
This prompts us to congratulate the company and its officials for a job well done which we have been missing in our government’s management for quite a long time now. We also congratulate the company for gaining more than KD7 million profit in the last financial year.
This is another evidence of the failure which pursues anything the government puts its hands on; in this case, the aviation authority and our national carrier – Kuwait Airways – which suffers annual losses.
Back to the condition of our government, manifested here by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation which insists on failure, this time it is about the revelation of a member of our parliament who expressed some of his concerns regarding our public issues and we are grateful to Almighty Allah for that.
The parliamentary question and statement attributed to MP Adel Al-Damkhi were published by local dailies on Feb 22, which revealed his bewilderment towards the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and the prohibitive conditions it had set for “bidding in the new passenger terminal project.”
The statement indicated that preliminary meeting was held to determine the winner out of three companies that submitted their bid. Among the conditions was experience in managing and operating airports in the Arabian Gulf.
This statement attributed to MP Al-Damkhi pointed out that there are global companies which fulfill the requirements of carrying out this project, but only three companies were nominated for it.
It affirmed that submitting bids for construction of a new terminal is under consideration, and there should be neutrality when it comes to bidding and project execution.
The statement also indicated there is an international company which provides passenger inspection services at Kuwait Airport, and it has not received anything despite incurring KD17.5 million of State funds without achieving desired goals.
We dedicate this sad statement ‘To Whom It May Concern’ among our government officials in the category of “I hear not, I see not and I say nothing” with regard to the airport and its paper projects.
We also dedicate it to the citizen and expatriate who are the victims of civil aviation officials and those above them in the executive and legislative authorities. We tell them: Our officials in charge of the airport and planes are insisting on failure due to an illness in their genes and reasons which are not a secret to anyone.
All we have is the grace of our Almighty Lord when it comes to you and me – citizens and expatriates – who use such miserable aviation services.
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli – Former Minister of Oil