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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 August 2018

Kuwait to host largest US military airport in Middle East

Cargo City will serve the Kuwaiti Air Force and US military until 2023

Senior Airman Kelsie Burt re-spools communications line at Cargo City, located at Abdullah Al Mubarak Air Base, Kuwait, June 25, 2018. US Air Force photo by Staff Sgt Joshua King
Senior Airman Kelsie Burt re-spools communications line at Cargo City, located at Abdullah Al Mubarak Air Base, Kuwait, June 25, 2018. US Air Force photo by Staff Sgt Joshua King

The largest US military airport in the Middle East is set to open in Kuwait in August, the US Air Combat Command said.

"Cargo City" is almost complete and will serve as a military logistics point for the Kuwaiti Air Force and the US military.

The project cost $32 million (Dh117.5m), spans 33,000 square metres and will function as the largest air terminal for troops and military equipment.

The airfield is next to Kuwait International Airport and will be used as a temporary station until its replacement, West Al Mubarak Air base, is complete in 2023.

Read more: Kuwait's closer links to US lead to stronger governance

Captain Sean Murphy, the civil engineering officer in charge, said moving to the new airport will allow for direct contact between coalition forces and the Kuwaiti Air Force, allowing for better co-ordination.

The US Air Force, along with its Kuwaiti counterpart, was given one year to move to the location from Abdullah Al Mubarak Air Base to make room for Kuwait’s new international airport, which is expected to open in 2022.

Although the air forces were expecting to move directly to the West Al Mubarak Air base, construction on Kuwait’s new international airport advanced ahead of schedule, forcing them to a temporary location.

“Moving everything to an entirely new location does not seem ideal at first, and building an entire base from scratch is a different conversation altogether,” said Capt Murphy. “The current base personnel also have to overcome the displacement of staff – all while still executing their mission.”

However, he said Kuwait was able to provide full support for the project, importing more than 1.24 million cubic metres to fill the construction site, and provided 24-hour transport and logistics over the four-month project.

“During the building process, we were able to form friendships and build bonds with our generous host-nation partners,” he said. “We wanted to go into this project with the clear intentions of building not just an operating location, but a lasting partnership.”

After their move to the new base Cargo City will serve as the permanent cargo holding area for the new Kuwaiti airport.

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