AMMAN His Majesty King Abdullah on Thursday opened the Queen Alia International Airport’s (QAIA) new passenger terminal.

His Majesty inaugurated the terminal during a ceremony at the airport in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Rania, senior officials and diplomats.

Also Thursday, the King met with Jin-Yong Cai, chief executive and executive vice president of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and commended the corporation's partnership with several Jordanian companies to help the country implement its development goals.

King Abdullah also lauded the IFC's contribution in financing the QAIA expansion project, a Royal Court statement said.

The IFC is the investment arm of the World Bank. So far, it has contributed around $1 billion to projects implemented in the Kingdom.  

Planning Minister Jafar Hassan also met with the IFC official and reviewed plans to increase IFC investments in the Kingdom.

During the inauguration ceremony on Thursday, Transport Minister Alaa Batayneh said the new terminal was poised to become the new gateway to Jordan, highlighting its role in boosting the country's economy and strengthening commercial exchange.

“The old terminal is no longer capable of meeting the rising demand and turnout by passengers… opening the new terminal is a milestone for Jordan and will help meet passengers' requirements,” said the minister.

The new 103,000-square-metre terminal can handle 12 million passengers annually, compared with the old terminal's 3.5-million-passenger capacity, according to the Airport International Group (AIG).

The number of gates will be developed gradually to meet demand towards the 12-million-passenger target.

In the terminal's first phase, seven new contact stands and one temporary remote boarding lounge, will come into operation, serving seven million passengers.

"Additionally, demolishing the airport’s [old] terminal will trigger another phase of the expansion plan, catapulting the total capacity to nine million passengers per year," according to AIG, which is the consortium responsible for the rehabilitation, expansion and operation of the airport.

Batayneh noted that the daily flight capacity at the airport will increase from 110 in 2006 to a projected 180 in 2018, while the number of destinations from and to the airport rose from 40 in 2006 to 61 in 2012.

He said AIG has so far invested JD500 million in developing the airport, adding that the total cost of investment in the project will reach JD700 million once the development has been finalised and the capacity of the terminal has been increased.

AIG Chairman Nazim Al Qudsi said the group will launch a fund to implement a series of initiatives to benefit the local community. 

He added that AIG will send 100 beneficiaries of Al Aman Fund for the Future of the Orphans to umra (the lesser Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca) next week.

The terminal was designed by renowned British architect Norman Foster, who designed the new Wembley Stadium in London, among other international landmarks.

The new terminal's roof design is inspired by bedouin tents and is composed of 127 concrete domes.

There are 64 check-in counters at the new building and six conveyor belts in the baggage claim area.

Under a build, operate and transfer deal signed with AIG in 2007, the government will gain ownership of the airport after 25 years, and will receive 54.4 per cent of revenues for the first six years and 54.6 per cent of gross revenues for the remainder of the term.