Kuwait International Airport (Arabic: مطار الكويت الدولي, IATA: KWI, ICAO: OKBK) is located in Farwaniyah, Kuwait, 15.5 kilometers (9.6 mi) south of Kuwait City, spread over an area of 37.7 square kilometres (14.6 sq mi). It serves as hub for Jazeera Airways and Kuwait Airways. A portion of the airport complex is designated as Al Mubarak Air Base, which contains the headquarters of the Kuwait Air Force, as well as the Kuwait Air Force Museum.
The airport was first launched in the period of 1927-1928. It was originally envisioned as a stop for British planes on their way to Imperial India. The main airport structure was executed and completed by Al Hani Construction joint venture with Ballast Nedam, The Netherlands.
The airport underwent a massive renovation and expansion project from 1999–2001, in which the former parking lot was cleared and a terminal expansion was built. This incorporated new check-in areas, a new entrance to the airport, the construction of a multi-story parking structure, and an airport mall.
Kuwait International Airport can currently handle more than nine million passengers a year. A new general aviation terminal was completed in 2008 under a BOT scheme and is operated by Royal Aviation. By the end of 2008, however, this terminal was modified to handle the scheduled services of now-defunct Wataniya Airways along with general aviation traffic. The terminal was renamed as Sheikh Saad Terminal.
In 2011 the Department of Civil Aviation announced the intention of extending Kuwait International Airport so it can handle more passengers and more aircraft. On 3 October 2011, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation announced that a new Foster + Partners-designed terminal will begin construction in 2012 and will increase the annual passenger handling amount to 13 million passengers in its first phase with the option of expanding to 25 million passengers. The airport has finalized formalities for the construction of the terminal, which is due to begin construction in 2012 with completion by 2016. It would be built to the south of the current terminal complex with new access routes from the Seventh Ring Road to the south of the airport compound. It is designed as a three-pointed star, with each point extending 600 meters from the star's center. Two airside hotels will form part of the new building. In December 2012 the Kuwaiti Ministry of Public Works announced that the new Terminal at the Kuwait International Airport will be completed by the end of 2016, estimating the cost to be around 900 million Kuwaiti Dinar ($3.2 billion). As of June 2014, the firm have quit the project due to several reasons with the project half-way complete. In August 2014, the project is back on track with 3 new companies bidding.
On 20 May 2013, The Director of Operations Management in the General Administration of Civil Aviation Essam Al-Zamil, announced that some of the flights will be diverted to the Sheikh Saad Terminal instead of Kuwait Airport's main terminal, starting in July. He said that due to the large number of passengers and the growing number of aircraft, Kuwait Airport is over capacity. "This will be temporary until the new Terminal finishes in 2016" said Al-Zamil.
The airport resides at an elevation of 206 feet (63 m) above mean sea level. It has two runways: 15R/33L with a concrete surface measuring 3,400 m × 46 m (11,155 ft × 151 ft) and 15L/33R with an asphalt surface measuring 3,500 m × 46 m (11,483 ft × 151 ft).
On 25 August 1973, Douglas DC-6 belonging to Yemen Airlines was hijacked during a flight from Taiz to Asmara. After making a refueling stop in Djibouti, the aircraft was taken to Kuwait where the single hijacker surrendered.
On 2 August 1990, British Airways Flight 149 carrying 349 passengers landed at Kuwait International Airport just four hours after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, leading to the capture of the passengers and crew. The Boeing 747-100 aircraft was looted by the Iraqis and destroyed. All passengers and crew were reported safe. A McDonnell Douglas DC-9 belonging to the Kuwait Air Force was also destroyed in the airport. It is believed that during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait many of the planes belonging to Kuwait Airways were stolen from the airport and stored in different locations in Iraq, some of which were later destroyed by allied bombings in 1991.
On 25 February 1991, USMC McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II crash-landed after being hit by ground fire during the Kuwait Liberation War.
On 10 December 1999, three US military personnel died when a USAF Lockheed C-130 Hercules made a hard emergency landing at Kuwait International Airport after sustaining damage from landing short of the runway at nearby Jaber al-Ahmad Airbase.